We met Ally, who is 2 months older than Matthew, and her mom earlier this year at a Parents as Teachers playgroup, then again at preschool gym. We learned that we lived in the same neighborhood.
Inspired by the book My Friend Isabelle, I have these thoughts/ observations about Matthew's friendship with Ally.
They both like music and enjoyed the Kindermusik summer camp.
They both like books and enjoy Tot Time at the library.
They both like playing with water in the pool.
In their own ways, they are picky about food.
They both like to play with toys. They are both learning what it means to share.
Ally speaks clearly and spontaneously. After a dinner at their house, Ally showed Bill a book and said, "This book is about King Xerxes." Matthew has not spoken his first word.
They both know some sign language.
They have fun together.
Matthew has Down syndrome. Ally does not.
When I first met Ally and her mom, I did not immediately tell them that Matthew had Down syndrome. It wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd playdate when I was talking about our social calendar and therapy sessions that I mentioned Down syndrome. Since then, we've had several more playdates, toy exchanges (borrowing toys), and kiddie pool parties. Recently, we had a wonderful weekend at the lake with Ally and her parents. Just for fun, we got a photo of the kids on the seadoos.
It doesn't matter to them that Matthew has Down syndrome. Many people can learn important lessons from our neighbors. Respect, Inclusion, Acceptance. Coincidentally, the first letters of these 3 words spell my name.