Parents of kids with Down syndrome-please help me understand

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by missypie, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    We have a friend at church whose 13 year old daughter (I'll call her Callie) has Down syndrome. The mom sings in the adult choir and also sings professionally.

    Callie sang in children's choir until she aged out of it last year. Her mom has now put Callie in the youth choir. The church youth choir is good - quite a few advanced singers. They all read music well, use four to eight part harmony, etc, sing their songs from memory. When Callie sings with them, she can always be heard. My daughter keeps track of her...make sure she stands and sits at the right time, etc., but can't keep Callie on key. The director is marvelous with Callie.

    But parents, help me understand why Callie's mom has put her in a performing group, with which she cannot keep up. Whenever the group performs, Callie's off pitch singing will always be heard. There are other church youth groups that Callie could be a part of. I try to put myself in the mom's shoes, and I don't think I'd want my daughter to be in front of the church, obviously being the one always off pitch. I know it's "only church youth choir" , but the group is going to sound off pitch for the next 6 years.

    Please don't flame me, but instead, help me understand the mom's point of view.
     
  2. sPaRkLeSpAz

    sPaRkLeSpAz <font color=darkorchid>wow, our house has been sca

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    I can see things from both sides.. My sister doesn't have down syndrome, but she's mentally disabled, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and a few other disabilities. She's not in choir;; but she likes being the center of attention, and when Becky sings she belts it all out =]. I think that Callie's mom is letting her sing because that's what Callie wants to do. Just because Callie has down syndrome her mother and Callie herself doesn't need to miss out on things. I think that it's good that she's a part of thing and feels included. :goodvibes . At church it doesn't really matter what other people think- it matters what God thinks;; God is probably honored to hear Callie sing every Sunday.

    =]
     
  3. RACHELSMOM1

    RACHELSMOM1 DIS Veteran

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    As a mom to a precious angel named Rachel, who has down syndrome,let me tell you how I feel.The girl is doing something she wants to do, and the church should be applauded for including her.She has already overcome so many obstacles in her life,and I admire this child for having the courage to sing in front of the church.She has a right to worship this way,and I am sure she is not the only child without perfect pitch.
     
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  5. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

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    I would definitely agree with the previous posters. More than likely the congregation knows she is a disabled child and the church, as any social services agency, is acting responsibly by including her in an activity she likes. It is not harming anybody.

    The only thing I would consider which may not be known publicly, is that there may be an agreement between the church and your friend that if the choir is going to be doing a public performance or in a competition that her daughter will not be permitted to participate for those performances. This way the church is treating its members fairly, Callie by allowing her to sing in the church, and the rest of the youth choir by not being damaged in a public or competitive performance.
     
  6. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    I hear what you're saying, and I know that it matters that it's Church. But even though it's church, if one of my teenaged kids was tone deaf and I could hear his off pitching singing above the choir, I think that after a while I'd gently discuss how singing might not be his thing and that maybe the handbell ensemble would be a better choice.
     
  7. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    Good thought. As un-Christian as this might sound, that did cross my mind when I heard that the group was going to audition to sing the National Anthem at a baseball game.
     
  8. bopper

    bopper <font color=green>Which way to the Hundred Acre Wo

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    Also, it depends on the church's rules for being in the choir. If it is open to all, why shouldn't she be in the choir if she likes to sing?
     
  9. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    It is certainly open to all. But it is not a group that learns praise choruses by rote. They sing anthems comparable to what adult choirs sing. To be comfortable in the group, you need to read music (and words, of course.) I think that Callie is begining to read...perhaps at the first grade level.

    I guess if Callie is not frustrated by having music put in front of her that she can't read, it isn't a distressing experience for her.
     
  10. RACHELSMOM1

    RACHELSMOM1 DIS Veteran

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    For a child with down syndrome,handbells would be more difficult(two skills at once-one mental and one tactile)and I believe the church is probably very accepting of this child and her voice-I hope the first poster understands that this is an accomplishment for this child in so many ways.
     
  11. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    I was using handbells as an example of what I would tell my non-Down syndrome child if he couldn't carry a tune.
     
  12. Mo-Yo

    Mo-Yo Mouseketeer

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    OKAY...agnostic/secular humanist/recovering Catholic chiming in here.

    If the God who I hope exists exists, I would hope that he finds the same joy in hearing that little girl sing that she finds in singing.

    And a true miracle would be that those who hear her voice, hear her heart, as well.
     
  13. Michigan

    Michigan Mom of the Rolling Crew

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    :grouphug: I think that just about says it all!:thumbsup2
     
  14. jennydep

    jennydep Mouseketeer

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    My first question is this: Is this what Callie wants or is it what her mom wants? I have a 9 year old daughter with Ds. When she sings in the kids' choir at church or at the school musical, you can hear her off-key, slightly-behind voice all over the auditorium. She brings smiles to the faces of everyone watching her put her whole heart into her song. I will be honest that if she were in Callie's situation, I would suggest to her that she sing at church but do something else to help out during a performance such as the National Anthem at a ballgame. I know people can be very cruel and, although I can't shelter her forever, I would want to reduce the chance of ridicule.

    Jenny
     
  15. Scutapipig

    Scutapipig Bookets of uddles and nuddles of bouquets!!!

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    I had a response typed...I chose to delete it because I'm afraid my honest response would offend the OP.

    What I can say, is I believe that Mo-Yo said it best.

     
  16. mickeymom1

    mickeymom1 Mouseketeer

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    i am also a mom of a ds7 with down syndrome. i agree with the previous posts that while she may sing off key, she is also setting a great example to be courageous and do what you enjoy no matter your ability.

    i was in a slightly similar situation with my son's school a few years ago. about a week before his kindergarten christmas concert, they told me he may not be able to be in it (because he wasn't participating 100% during rehearsals). i was completely shocked and appalled!! it was a kindergarten concert, singing jingle bells, etc.!!! they were afraid that he may bring attention to himself or not act appropriate. to make a long story short, he was in the concert and stood there better than some of the other kids (who are not disabled) who were picking their noses or crying!! he was given the chance to participate and he was successful. as a parent of a disabled child, that is all i really ask is that he be given the chance. do i wish sometimes that he could just "blend in", heck yes. but that is not a reality and neither is keeping him isolated so "attention" won't be brought to his disability.

    who knows, maybe with a little extra guidance callie will improve. maybe they can work with her so she doesn't sing so loud over the other singers. one shouldn't assume that because she is disabled that she can't learn or try to be taught some basic proper techniques.

    finally, kuddos to your daughter for helping callie in the choir.
     
  17. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    But when your daughter is 13 or 16 and the group is getting through something like Beethoven's "Hallelujah" from the Mount of Olives, will you still think it is sweet when she is there, not being able to keep up at all, or would you think it a better experience to involve her in an activity in which she will be more successful?
     
  18. terri01p

    terri01p DIS Veteran

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    A church choir to me is for singing praises unto the LORD, let the child have fun and let her be a reminder to people in the church what real life is all about, who really cares if the choir sings perfectly, I would think most people would be blessed by this singing ( off key or not ) and isn't that what the church is all about ? It says in the bible " make a joyful noise unto the LORD " . The bible doesn't say "sing unto me all you that sing good ". Geez you should sit by my husband during church...it takes singing to a whole new level. :scared1:
    I would love for my dd to have strength enough to belt out a song and I know my church would love an embrace that also. Just pray and ask GOD to give you a good spirt about it, and I bet you'll find yourself loving the songs being sung ( off key or not ) .
     
  19. Scutapipig

    Scutapipig Bookets of uddles and nuddles of bouquets!!!

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    Missypie, it sounds as though you are more hung-up on perfection and appearances than you are in seeing the joy and the acceptance that a church (if following scripture and Christ's example) bring to those who attend.

    If I read between the lines correctly, it sounds as though you are more concerned with the possibility of your daughter and the choir not being able to progress to a competition level than you are with extending courtesy, kindness, and compassion to one individual. I applaud your daughter for helping Callie out, but I hope its done out of desire and friendship and not out of obligation.

    For what its worth, my son is 11 years old and not only is part of the children's choir, but he also is given speaking parts in plays and given solos to sing in the choir. He does very well, although a bit off key (actually, QUITE a bit off key), but I'll take off key praise to the Lord over anyone who feels he does not have a right or the opportunity to participate in praising the One who created him in His image.

    Now, I'm also a realist. If there are try-outs for a choir and people are cut based on their lack of abilities, then those circumstances are different and I would accept the decision that he probably wouldn't make it and work with him to learn that life lesson. However, a volunteer choir is not a place to make assumptions and/or waves.
     
  20. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 <font color=green>I just love those parmesan mashe

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    I haven't read any of the replies but....maybe "mom" has such a "tin ear" that she can't even hear that her DD is so off key...or maybe thinks her DD sounds fantastic.
     
  21. missypie

    missypie <font color=red>Has an outlet for romance<br><font

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    Callie's mom is a professional singer. I know that if it were me and my non-Down syndrome teenager was singing loudly off key, I'd feel bad and encourage him or her to find another area of service to the church. What I don't know is if I HAD a Down syndrome child that old, and could easily hear her being off key, would I be thrilled that she was up there singing, or would I still feel bad and encourage her to find another area of service to the church.
     

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