Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Genius with an extra set of chromosomes

It is funny how often people are surprised to learn that Hannah has Down Syndrome. Often the only giveaway is when they ask about the age difference and I say that she is Kit's twin - his older sister in fact. This surprises people because she looks smaller, has a bit more of a baby face and is not walking at nearly 19 months (all factors which are not even a definite result of the T21 - they are fraternal twins after all).

I have had a Dr at the children's hospital ask if we had had her checked (did he really think that T21 is something you 'claim' your child has when they don't?).

Just this week I have had occassion to take the twins to two different GPs - one is Hannah's so he knows her history but still he was pleased (in a surprised sort of way) with how 'well' she is going. He commented on her definite personality (she was grumpy because she couldn't lift up the scales in his office)and the fact that she is getting stronger in the legs. He seemed surprised when she was able to communicate with him quite clearly. It won't be too long before he is able to say 'Down Syndrome' rather than mumbling about her 'problem' - she is teaching him well.

Then on Monday and again this afternoon a GP I have been taking Kit to for his ear infection also commented on how good she was - very responsive and animated - he gave Kit a jelly bean but was a bit worried that Hannah would choke on it - imagine his face when she chewed it with delight and midway through in a very clear voice and with sign to accomapny for emphasis said "MORE". Well heaven help my babies when I am ringside at their future sporting events - I was so proud of her. Both babies happily waved 'bye' as they finished off their jelly beans. The GP was impressed with how close she was to Kit in her responsiveness.

Mostly I take great pride in the fact that doctors are so impressed with her capabilities - yes I know that she is very clever. Another part of me wonders though at how outdated their understanding of what my Hannah is capable of must be. At least she is doing her best to be an ambassador for her 'people'. It is with pleasure in her abilities and her lovely nature that I let people know she has T21 - I want to break down as many barriers for her as I can and so many of them seem to be rooted in people's misconceptions and negative stereotypes. Her reality and what she brings to our family and the wider community is so much more than that.

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