Tuesday, 21 March 2017

My friend has Down’s syndrome*


Written by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos. Illustrated by Marta Fabrega. Lets talk series.  Book house, Brighton, UK, 2012



#Down syndrome, #WDSD17, #notspecialneeds #Child wellbeing, #Healthcare preparation, #Health literacy, #Play, #Recreational activities, #School children, #Social inclusion, #Therapeutic books for children

“Do you have a special friend? I do! Her name is Ella, and she’s my best friend”

"My friend has Down's syndrome" is a bright children's book with colourful illustrations and an upbeat approach. Written essentially for school children about peer friendships. "Do you have a special friend? I do! Her name is Ella, and she's my best friend".

Positive messages surround the setting of children at summer camp with activities and fun. At first there is reluctance to have a new group member, Ella, who has Down syndrome. The camp club leader, Miss Theresa, tells the children about Ella and there are concerns; however with information comes understanding.

The story is told through the eyes of one girl and Ella is her new buddy. The girls play together, learning and sharing and partnering in sports, arts and crafts; also the camp show. Ella teaches her enthusiastic buddy pottery skills. Both girls are unique and have things they love to do as well as strengths.

“Note to parents”, about the book’s purpose is at the back. Acceptance and acknowledgment of children with Down syndrome and eliminating existing barriers with peers is a focus. Another aim is promoting a better understanding of children with Down syndrome. Find information about health problems that may be experienced by some children with Down syndrome, as well as supportive interventions. 

Developing relationships, breaking down barriers and providing opportunities enables children to strive towards being the best they can be.

More information
Visit Down Syndrome Australia to find out more, including links to personal stories and videos to challenge thinking, there's an Easy Read version.


Notes about healthcare 

Child-friendly Information and healthcare 

The book highlights children have information needs, information helps when coping with new situations and the instability of life. Going to hospital or even the doctors can be a disjointed interruption. Finding ways to make healthcare more normal and less stressful is essential.

When it comes to healthcare, children cope better when their information needs are met. For example, if having a procedure such as an x-ray, parents and healthcare professionals read books to children. Healthcare professionals, early childhood educators and teachers can link to factsheets, infographics, online resources such as Apps. 

Is the information child-friendly? One child-friendly App tested on children is Okee in medical imaging. Health literacy is important, what are the information needs of each child and how can he or she be prepared for a doctor’s or dentist visit or hospital? See related blogs Four ways parents can increase their protective role, Keeping kids needs in the picture, H is for healthcare preparation and the Paediatric nurse.



Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
E: Jillian@awch.com.au


* please email if you wish to borrow this book. 

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