Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gifts for special-needs kids take extra care

First off thank you Janese Silvey and we will all miss your articles like this when the Tribune goes behind the Pay Wall.
Julianna Basi glanced at the pink dress-up gown her mother, Kate, offered her, but she wasn’t interested.

The 3-year-old was even less impressed with the jack-in-the-box, pushing the toy off of the bench where her mother had placed it.

Buying gifts for little Julianna come Christmastime is tough, Kate Basi said. Julianna has Down syndrome and isn’t quite ready for some of the gifts her peers will unwrap Christmas morning.

“She’s much more interested in bows and boxes than what is inside them,” Basi said.

If it’s tough for parents to buy for children with developmental disabilities, imagine being a friend or relative trying to figure it out.

Julie Brinkhoff, associate director of the Great Plains Center at the University of Missouri, is lending some expertise this holiday season.

Oftentimes, she said, gift-givers either overestimate a child’s ability — offering something that’s potentially frustrating — or they underestimate abilities and run the risk of offending recipients.

“People just make the best guess they can. Frequently, though, they’re even less accurate than ours,” said Basi, whose husband is MU spokesman Christian Basi. “As a parent, you do have the responsibility to be honest with people.”

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