Down Syndrome: Teaching Tolerance to Young Children
Bachelor of Arts
Humanities and Cultural Studies
Department or Program Chair
Chase B. Clow, PhD
Robert Bradford, MA
After reading many books which teach tolerance and inclusivity, I noticed a few things. First, the books were geared for children ages seven and up. Second, the author almost always wrote the story from the perspective of a child who had a friend with the disability or physical difference, which always made it seem like we were talking behind the other child’s back. Third, and perhaps most significantly, the books were not interactive. There was a lot of language being thrown at the children with very little for them to do with it.
Teaching tolerance and inclusivity should happen at a very early age. I wrote this book with a preschool or child care setting in mind. It is written for children ages three to five. Throughout the story, the character James Henry, who has Down syndrome, asks questions to the reader. This provides an opportunity for the children to be involved, feel a part of the story, and become invested in his life. By introducing them to James, I hope that when they meet someone who is a little different than them, they will remember his story and try to be friendly, rather than react in fear. Simple stories like this are an excellent introduction to a complicated subject and start a conversation that will lead to a more empathetic, inclusive, and tolerant generation.
During the creation of this project, I consulted several resources on how to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book. I also researched Down syndrome, education, and mainstreaming.