Five things I hear too often:
1) She doesn't look like she has Down Syndrome.
Yes, she really does. But that's okay since she does have it.
2) Elise would have been so pretty if she didn't have Down Syndrome/Do you ever wonder what she would be like without Down Syndrome?
Yes. But I can't change anything and you would never ask someone else if they wonder if they would like parenting better if their kid was smarter or better behaved. It's still not okay. And I have a sneaking suspicion that she would be exactly the same without the chromosome. Spunky, witty, funny, hard-working, tom-boy, athletic, and stubborn. These don't require 46 chromosomes instead of 47 to be true.
3) She seems like she is high functioning.
Again, I don't say, "Well, your kid seems to be reasonably smart." The level of independence does not give her credence for living and having a fulfilled life.
4) You handle her so well.
Some days. But sometimes we have ugly truth days. But all the time, I love her and parent her...the same way I do my 3 other kids.
5) What do you think her future will hold?
I don't know. But you don't know if your kid will be a doctor/lawyer/investor/inventor, and independently wealthy; if your kids will boomerang back to your basement; or if your kid will wind up in prison, either. So we're even.
Five things I *WISH* I heard:
1) I love how Elise tries so hard to_______.
2) Elise is beautiful/Elise has beautiful hair/Elise's eyes are striking/She looks so much like you
3) Elise is persistent.
4) Elise loves so hard/faithfully.
5) Elise is so perceptive.
If I had a dime for every time I heard "Elise looks like you", I'd have 50 cents. I really wish people had the courage to say it. I wish they would note the things that make her awesome. I wish they would encourage her strengths. The same as they do any other kid.
Because she wants the same as every other kid. She wants you to like her for HER.