Kid Spotlight: Growing Up Around Down Syndrome
The mission of We Rock the Spectrum is to give kids with all kind of disabilities a safe place to play. Having a safe place to go doesn’t only impact those kids–it impacts their families, and helps them learn social skills with other kids who have needs of all kinds.
All About Isabel
At 11 years old, Isabel has had a close relationship with an adult with down syndrome, her baby sister with Down Syndrome, and other kids who come into the We Rock the Spectrum Oklahoma City.
Until Isabel went to kindergarten, she spent every day with her mother while she took care of a 45 year old woman with Down Syndrome, Lane. Isabel and Lane were extremely close.
When Isabel was ten, her younger sister was born with Down Syndrome. “It was overwhelming and scary. She was in the NICU for two weeks and one parent was always gone.” However, Isabel got to hold her when she was in the NICU, and that was the beginning of their strong bond.
As Olivia grew, Isabel got to babysit her. Since Down Syndrome causes some developmental delays, Isabel said, “It’s like having a baby longer, and I love it.”
In fact, Isabel says that she can always make Olivia laugh, even though some of her other siblings can’t.
“When you are taking care of someone with Down Syndrome, you have to be patient, have an open mind, be flexible, have a big heart, integrity, dignity, be respectful, and listen to other’s experiences and advice.” This 11 year old is speaking from invaluable, hands-on experiences.
When asked if she liked the extra responsibilities that come with having a younger sibling with special needs, she said, “I do like it. But sometimes I want to be by myself.”
Having a child with special needs is stressful, and the older kids absorb that stress too. Isabel really loves when her parents give her extra time and split responsibilities among all of her siblings.
Favorite Parts of The Gym
Isabel picked two pieces of equipment for her favorites: the zip line and the hammock swing.
The zip line is the most popular with her friends, and she said that’s usually the first one that makes them excited.
However, she took a few minutes to decide which piece of equipment was the best to read in. She decided it was the hammock swing, because it’s the most comfortable and relaxing.