Monday, November 16, 2009

Chromosome Cake

Just this evening, Hector and I had a great opportunity to attend a Sibling Workshop led by two experts in the field of sibling relationships in families with special needs. Dr. Brian Skotko and Sue Levine led the workshop and I feel so lucky that DSIA flew them out to Sacramento to speak with a small group of us. Diego was able to attend the breakout session for children ages 5-8 and then childcare was provided while Hector and I attended the parent session.

It was so informative and Diego also really enjoyed having his session with some peers experiencing the same thing he is. I think Sue validated the kids feelings no matter what they were and helped them to process having a sibling with DS. The kids expressed their feelings and also shared advice to their parents. It was really eye opening to see the things they said on their brainstorming papers. Things like "Pay attention to us too" and "Let the baby rest sometimes" and "Be fair" and "Have a baby with DS". This last one Sue and Brian mentioned is really interesting. They have collectively been doing this type of thing for 35 years and they said in the last 5 years more and more often kids (and really young ones) are talking about prenatal decisions and choices. So when the kids said "Have a baby with DS", they meant that they feel babies with DS are wonderful and they want them in their lives. Interesting!

One of the best tidbits of the night was a tip on how to explain how or why an extra chromosome can make such a difference in people. Sue mentioned this "recipe" was one way a mom in one of her previous sessions explains it so that even young kids can understand....

Chromosomes are ingredients that make us who we are and it's like the ingredients in a cake. All cakes are made with flour, sugar, eggs, some vanilla and some oil in our cake batter and we bake it in the oven and out comes a yummy, delicious cake. Having an extra chromosome is like adding in an extra egg or maybe a little extra oil. You still get a yummy, delicious cake but this cake might be a little softer, spongier or stickier but it's still a yummy delicious cake.

I thought this was a GREAT way to explain it...not to mention it kicked in my sweet tooth!

Thank you Sue and Dan for an awesome afternoon and thank you DSIA for hosting them.

15 comments:

Lisa said...

SO glad it was a good workshop... I'm bummed we had to miss it. I know we don't have a sibling for Sheridan yet. But we thought it would be a good idea to take part to start learning now :) Now I'm hungry for cake.

SunflowerMom said...

Lucky you! I'd love to attend a meeting with them! Nice advice, too.

stephanie said...

What a great workshop! I think that last one, " Have a baby with Ds" is interesting too. The other day my Bella who is seven, announced she wanted a baby with special needs when she is a mommy.

Heather said...

Thanks for this as I am constantly trying to explain or help my older boys explain Down syndrome to their peers,in easy terms or them .This recipe is perfect ... just like our children.

sheree said...

that is so adorable and clever! I am going to use that analogy for sure!

Monica Crumley said...

I love that way to explain Ds. I will totally use that when I talk to kids about Ds. I really wrestled about whether to squeeze that event into our tightly compacted Saturday and we just couldn't do it. I can see Anna saying "Have a baby with Ds" She amazes me daily. I'll share a letter she wrote to our principal when I see you. So glad you went! i want to hear more.

Rachel Smith said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. What a wonderful way to explain Ds to siblings. Our three have not talked anything about it. Not sure why, but someday there will be questions and the cake recipe is going to be a great way to share that information. Would you mind if I use the cake recipe on our post sometime?

Also wondering about more "I Did It" t-shirts.

Rachel

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

how awesome that you were able to go to that workshop! glad diego enjoyed his session too!!! thanks for sharing the "brainstorming" the kids did as well as the chromosome cake analogy!!! :)

Sasha said...

Thanks so much for sharing this as Blyss has been having some difficult times with all the medical attention Wysdom gets and has really started to act out. We have bought a book called "The Other Kid" which is a workbook for her to draw in. If you are interested in it just let me know and I will find the authors name. She is 3 and it's a bit to old for her. I love the recipe idea.

Emily said...

What a fabulous workshop! Wonderful advice!

Heidi said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is so helpful to hear some advice in how to talk to siblings.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing! I have a 7 year old who is also starting to ask questions. The cake recipe is going to come in handy. Just enough info to understand and pass on to his peers. My 4 year old is not quite there yet! Landon is now 9 months old and boys still can't get enough of him!

Sharon said...

I'm so glad you were able to go to their presentation. Aren't they amazing?!? And wonderful that there was a session for Diego, too. Sounds like you all got alot out of it!

Bethany said...

Sounds cool! I like the recipe idea too.

Life in Peradise said...

I took this workshop at the convention. I loved this idea!