When we are home, just motoring around town doing our thing, we rarely run into other people with Down syndrome (aka T21.) We see Sean's classmate at school, but that's about it. So when we are away, I always have my T21 Radar on to notice other families. This trip was no exception.
Encounter 1: Orlando airport, Budget Rental Car waiting area.
A woman walked by with her cocker spaniel and waited just across from where we sat with the kids while Doug got our vehicle. My kids didn't want to go see the dog up close, so we watched from a distance. A 14-ish year old boy walked up to the dog with his 3 year old brother, who has Down syndrome. I watched his big smile as the dog wagged his tail and grinned back at him. He sat on the floor in front of the dog to play with him. All was well until the dog jumped up and licked him on his forehead, then the boy decided that was enough and reached up to brother to take him away in tears.
I watched them head back over to mom and then Sean wandered off that way, too. We worked are way over to them and said hello. The other mom was happy to meet Sean and talked to him at length.
Encounter 2: This was a mere brush, but at Magic Kingdom there was a boy older than Sean, maybe 10ish, with his parents and they seemed to be 2 groups ahead of us on several rides that day. Didn't chat with them, but I liked seeing how their child reacted to all the stimulus of WDW. The previous day, Doug said a similar aged boy with Ds was in line for the Rock & Roller Coaster ride. He said he really wondered how he handled that ride as it was fast and a bit scary. No way would Sean go on a ride like that, but maybe as he gets older he'll be interested?
Encounter 3: Lunch at Freddy's Frozen Custard with my family, New Year's weekend.
Sean wanted to sit at a different table than the rest of us, so Doug moved over to sit with him. A family of three, their daughter being a young adult with T21, sat at a table between our two groups. I watched them and saw them watching Sean as they ate. When Doug and Sean finished, Sean wanted to go sit outside at a picnic table, so Doug came over to grab their coats. Sean walked out without him and I guess the mother thought he was leaving on his own, so she hopped up and went after him to reign him back in.
I had to laugh, because Sean & Ella herding is such a second nature thing to Aidan and his cousins, as well as us. I guess that instinct doesn't wear off as our wandering ones get older!
I love that T21 Radar.