I am not a special needs parent, but I thought this might be the best place to ask. Please, I hope my question does not offend anyone. That is exactly why I am coming here. To avoid that IRL.
Anyway, my children are 8 and 4, and although we have often had reason to go I over the "everybody is different," "all shapes, sizes, and colors," "if we were all the same then you wouldn't be able to be so special to me," you get the idea. But I don't think I have ever had a situation to properly address developmental delays, autism, Down's syndrome, etc...
It just never occurred to me because we actually don't know anyone that is affected by anything on a noticeable level. My husband used to be a caretaker for older men with various severe mental disabilities (some also physical) in a group home, but my daughter was 3 and my son wasn't even born yet. I know a few people with children that are high-functioning autistic, but most kids don't pick up on it - mine never have when they were together.
Anyway, the reason I started thinking about it is because I am forming an organization, and one of the members has a young teenage boy with Down's syndrome that will attend some of our meetings. If my kids ask questions, I want to answer them properly, educationally, and most importantly, in a way that makes the boy and his mother feel welcome and not "ogled at." Does that make sense?
Again, I really am not wanting to offend anyone. I just want to know what you would like to hear a mother telling her 4yo if they pointed out something about your child. Should it be as simple as everything else ("everybody is different" and the other stuff mentioned above)? Or should it be explained further, a little more educationally?
Ugh, I have a feeling I'm going to get flamed for even asking, but I just want to make sure that this boy and his mother feel welcome to come back.