One of the reasons I thought I could try for both sides of the veil:
I AM on both sides of the veil! I have typical kids and a kid with extra stuff. For all the things I have to do for my child that has issues, she is not my only baby. I have to figure out how to parent my typical kids, how to meet their needs, how to explain their sister to them. For my daughter with actual diagnoses, I have to expect everything I can. I have to demand what she can give and I have to support what I must support to help her develop...and I have to love them all equally!
I'll be entirely honest. It's hard to have to parent in a split personality. It would be so much easier to have to do one or the other. I feel it is unfair to my typical kids to expect so much more from them, even though they can do more...but of course, if I don't, then I am doing them a disservice. And with Elise, I cannot expect her to be on par with her peers...or even her siblings...but I cannot do everything for her and expect for her to grow to be happy and independent.
The second reason I think I need to do this is:
I believe one of the reasons that there is very little information on this stage of life in kids with Down Syndrome is that this is the defining time of their social developement. And it is tricky. Hopefully, by this time, the really important medical issues have been addressed and are either "fixed" or are in a holding pattern. The major decisions of independence are not yet pending.
The need here, I feel, is that to help my child find her place I have to teach her how to be with those who are not like her. She is trying to relate. Elise, in particular, is fighting to communicate. She has her most profound delay in speech which has a devastating effect on making relationships. If I can help other parents understand, perhaps they can help Elise's peers understand, then maybe it'll be an easier path for her or those like her.