Ask Amy: Conversations about Down syndrome really feel awkward to grandparent

Expensive Amy: Our household has/had three members with Down syndrome; my youngest sister was born with DS in 1968 and died in 2016. I’ve a cousin with the situation, and my daughter and her husband have a son (our grandson) with Down syndrome. I’ve been concerned within the Down syndrome neighborhood for a few years. I’ve a educating diploma in particular schooling and was a special-education educator for years.

Even with a higher socially open acceptance, I nonetheless expertise social awkwardness when the subject of DS comes up. Though I’m completely snug chatting with others about Down syndrome, I don’t know how one can deal with conditions when others are uncomfortable.

When assembly somebody for the primary time, if I point out that now we have a grandson with DS, the opposite individual usually seems like a “deer caught within the headlights.” They don’t know how one can reply, and the dialog shortly turns into awkward and uncomfortable. I might select to not say something within the first place, however avoiding the apparent may also be uncomfortable. It’s arduous to know whether or not the opposite individual want to know extra or change the topic.

If I encounter an individual with DS and their household, I’d like to method them and say hello, and maybe remark or ask questions if they appear in any respect receptive, however I usually have an issue getting a really feel for that, too.

— Tongue-tied in Denver

Tongue-tied: Though one in every of my favourite members of the family was born with Down syndrome, I method your query with an consciousness that’s far much less intimate than yours. And simply as you and I are most likely very completely different from each other, no two neurodivergent persons are alike, both.

It’s best to ask your self what you’re on the lookout for in a response from different neurotypical folks. Would you want them to say, “Oh, that’s fascinating,” ask about your grandson’s education or ask, “What’s that like for you?”

My general level is that if somebody I’m assembly for the primary time tells me that their grandchild has curly crimson hair, is a musical prodigy (or rides horses, or is mountaineering the Appalachian Path), I’m more than likely to imagine that very same darting-eye look, as a result of, with out additional context, a particular response doesn’t essentially spring to thoughts.

Not figuring out what to say doesn’t all the time imply that persons are uncomfortable. Generally it merely implies that they’re processing an announcement with no relatable context hooked up.

If you happen to love somebody with Down syndrome (as I do), you can be drawn to others with Down. In that case, you need to talk your individual friendliness on to that individual, and if they’ve members of the family or associates with them, you’ll be able to gauge their willingness to work together with you by being open about your individual members of the family.

Expensive Amy: My boyfriend of 4 years (we stay collectively) doesn’t know when my birthday is and may’t perceive why he ought to even care about it. He quips, “Generally I don’t even know my very own birthday.” After I stated I assumed it was unusual that he didn’t care to know my delivery date, he accused me of “making an attempt to start out a struggle.”

Evidently if it isn’t about HIM, he isn’t . Am I being too delicate?

Within the Darkish: I’ve usually remarked on how vital I consider birthdays to be, as a result of it is a day when others are invited to acknowledge and rejoice your very existence. In balanced relationships, companions really search for alternatives to rejoice each other, as a result of (selfishly talking) it feels good!

Sure, I agree that it’s “unusual” that your man doesn’t declare to even need to know the date of your delivery. (This may be very important info that he would possibly want to produce in case of an emergency.)

Expensive Amy:Unhappy and Struggling” was upset as a result of her accomplice didn’t cancel spring break plans together with his grandchildren to remain residence together with her whereas she was on chemo. She made it sound as if he had deserted her in her hour of want, however Amy, spring break solely lasts for one week.

So for that one week, her daughter stepped in to assist. Judging by her expectations, possibly he wanted that one week away.

M: “Unhappy and Struggling” was panicking over a most cancers analysis. Maybe she felt deserted due to the way in which her accomplice was responding to her fears, general.

Regardless, many readers agree with you.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content material Company.

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