This is Cholula. She is eight years old and just began third grade.
Cholula has a younger brother, his name is Tapatio. He is Special.
This year Tapatio began first grade at Cholula's elementary school. Cholula noticed that other kids did not want to play with her brother. Also, she noticed he did not act like the other kids.
One day, she heard her parents saying Tapatio was not normal.
At home, in front of the kids, her parents never spoke about it. She did not know what they meant. Cholula was confused.
Cholula was so confused, she started thinking many horrible thoughts. She thought that because her brother was different he might not be able to stay in school with her. She thought he would be sad forever. She also thought Tapatio wouldn't make friends and would be lonely. She even thought he had to live somewhere else. She was afraid he was losing an arm. She did not want him to die.
One day she came to school very sad, and did not want to participate in class. When her teacher asked her what was wrong, Cholula explained to her teacher what she heard her parents say. Mrs. Stanley smiled and told Cholula to be calm.
Mrs. Stanley called in Cholula's parents and explained why Cholula had been sad and not participating in class.
Cholula's parents decided to take her for ice cream and explain what was going on with her brother. Her parents told her that Tapatio was special. They explained he had Down Syndrome. At first, Cholula was more confused, but as they kept explaining she understood it was all okay. In fact, they said he was just like her. He could go to school like her, play like her and make all the friends he wanted. Her parents explained that special kids like Tapatio, live a normal life except they sometimes need accommodations. For example, he might not have the same classes she has, but will learn just as much. They told her he was just as smart as she was but just like she had difficulties in math, he had difficulties in other things.
After speaking with her parents, Cholula learned that there are many special kids in the world just like her brother. She also learned that not everybody understands what that means and some people can say mean things when they are confused. Cholula remembered that Tapatio could do everything he wanted to do but he had to be extra careful, and she had to be a good sister. One thing she never doubted was that she was lucky to have her brother in her life.
Cholula decided to teach the world what being special meant. In her journal she writes about how her brother and children like him learn at school and how they learn at home. She loves to share her story because she does not want other kids to be confused. She often asks her teacher for more information about Down Syndrome and tells her that once she learns all about it, she wants to learn about all other special children, then help kids like herself not be confused.