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Uniform Behavior: Down syndrome and Junior High

posted Tuesday August 12th, 2014


Another big change in junior high: a strict dress code.

The first couple days of school, Sophie was excited to wear her navy polo dress or a shirt and a khaki skort. By day three, she was rebelling — wanting to wear forbidden leggings, refusing to tuck in her shirt — and by the first day of the second week she had completely lost her shit.

I get it. It was picture day and Sophie wanted to dress up.

“No, sweetie,” I told her for the second or maybe it was the hundredth time, trying to be patient but ready to lose it myself. “You have to wear your uniform. How about this dress? And be sure to put black shorts on under it and please wear these shoes.”

The promise of a borrowed necklace and a little make up got her in and out of the shower, but by then we were officially late, so when Sophie emerged from her room with a gray and white tie-dyed, sequined vest over her polo dress, I gave up.

“Fine,” I said, not very nicely. “They’ll make you take it off at school.”

I had to admit she looked pretty cute. She practically cooed when I pulled out the mascara and jumped at the chance to borrow my new lip gloss, smearing it all over her mouth. She came home with the vest, necklace and lip gloss crammed in the bottom of her backpack.

By this morning, she just seemed resigned. I put her outfit on the couch without a word, and she put it on.

Uniforms are the least of Sophie’s worries — or they should be. But for both of us, I think, the school dress code sends a bigger message: conform or go home.

Here’s a piece I wrote about uniforms that ran on KJZZ — the Phoenix NPR affiliate — the week before school started. 

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, fashion by Amysilverman

One Response to “Uniform Behavior: Down syndrome and Junior High”

  1. As someone who believes that a good feather boa can make any day better, and who can’t wait for the day my daughter (born with Down syndrome only four months ago) begins to express herself in this way, I loved the article linked to here. Both your daughters are badass. Thanks for sharing!

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