I see the way they look at him. I know what they are thinking. They are uncertain... they are afraid. They are scared. And rightfully so... but it's only because they don't really know what they are looking it
Y is the boy who I spend two hours with every Thursday. He is my chesed kid, and sometimes he can be difficult, but I wouldn't trade my time with him for anything.
Y has Down Syndrome. And because of him, I learned something about myself: Down Syndrome doesn't scare me. I have had plenty of prior interaction with kids with Down Syndrome, but never so consistently, and so intimately. It's just me and him. And I love it. Y is funny, smart and most of all, a really sweet kid. When people hear "Down Sydrome" they think: unintelligent, incapable and slow. And Y is far from it. He speaks two languages, knows his way around his neighborhood, is friends with all sorts of people and enjoys playing tricks on me. It's true- he isn't so fabulous at math (but we are working on it!), he looks different than other boys and his speech isn't so clear. And when someone first looks at him, they may be cautious. The kids in the park stare... he acts different than them. And I am sure there was a time when I was like them... but somehow, I realized that it's only what we don't know that scares us... and these kids, they don't know Y... I hope one day they will.