We never had to tell our sons they had disabilities.

They both had brain disorders which left them profoundly handicapped and as far as we could tell they couldn’t understand anything we told them.

But we did have to explain about disability to their sister who was aged two when her first brother was born and four when the second arrived. We also had to explain to lots of other people – children and adults.

We tried to do it simply and honestly, describing the severity of the disabilities without in any way taking away from our sons their humanity and right to be treated as people in their own right.

The question of what to tell children who have a disability,illness or other condition which makes them “different” and when to tell them, is one of the many challenges facing their parents.

The best example I’ve seen of it is The day I told him he was “awesome” part one and part two at Autism and Oughtisms.

Awesome is an overused and often misused word, but in its true sense is the appropriate one for these posts. I am in awe of the sensitivity and creativity the mother showed.

Apropos of this, I recommend two very good novels.

Crash by William Taylor – the story of Poddy who has Downs Syndrome and Yes by Deborah Burnside – the story of Marty, a teenager with autism.




The hero of Crash is Patrick, known as Poddy.

He has Downs Syndrome and his brother Jack gest sick of him tagging along with him.

That’s until the car crash. Jack and his father are both unconcsious and it’s up to Poddy to save them.

William Taylor captures his characters’ voices, conveys their feelings matter of factly and takes the reader with them.

This is a moving and inspirational book. A friend who has a pupil with Downs Syndrome read Crash to her class and said the story held them spellbound.

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Post 6  in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

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Deborah at In A Strange Land posts on The Animal Undie Ball written and illustrated by Ruth Paul.

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