Talking about Down syndrome

Talking about your child's disability can be difficult for some families. Important things like when to start the conversation, how much to say and how to deal with people's insensitive comments, all need careful consideration.

Talking to you child about their disability

When do we start talking about it, and how much should we share with our child? These are questions we are often asked.

The info sheets below offer a few strategies for how/when to discuss Down syndrome and what words to use.
What to say to children?
(Adobe PDF File)
Why the secret?
(Adobe PDF File)

Information for classmates

Just as you guided your very young child when he or she began to befriend others, you can encourage your child to learn about and be a friend to children who have disabilities. Reading or learning about a disability is a great way to further understand a child's experiences. It may also help dispel any questions you or your child may have.

See Down Syndrome Victoria's PowerPoint presentations on Awareness that can be used with staff and/or students to give an overview of Down syndrome.

Talking to Finn's class about Down syndrome - Life as I know it blog by Lisa Morguess

How to talk to your children's peers about Down syndrome

Books for children about Down syndrome


Daniel’s Book
 by Michael Wilson (available from DSA of WA ph: (08) 9358 3544, costs $11 +p&p) is a simple picture reading book written by the 9 year old sibling of a boy with Down syndrome. Good model for making your own family picture and simple reading books.

We’ll paint the octopus red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen - a picture book for young children which explains, through the eyes of his sister, that things are different but the same for the new baby with Down syndrome. 

I Can, Can You? by Marjorie W Pitzer - a board book for babies and toddlers featuring photos of children with Down syndrome

My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson - a book for young children that presents acceptance of differences through friendship of children

Taking Down Syndrome to School by Jenna Glatzer - a picture book for teachers and classmates that helps teach about Down syndrome

Don't call me special: a first look at disability by Pat Thomas - a picture book that explores questions and concerns about disability.