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Old September 22nd, 2006, 08:56 PM
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Default Kuki - help with Down Syndrome Child

Hi Kuki - we have a large group going on HAL Noordam cruise in April with families. My neighbor has a 6 yr old son with Down Syndrome who has mentality of 2-3 yr old child. Non verbal, minimal sign language, not yet potty trained (though in process) and very social and no medical needs. She would like to take her family on this cruise but is very hesitant about the type of child care that will be available. Her other child is 14 yrs old and would not be participating in the same programs. Though the 6 yr old is social and would have very good social skills with other children. Do you have any suggestions or opinions about HAL and child care for special needs? THank you ! Brigitte
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 11:32 PM
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In this special circumstance I'd recommend calling Holland America directly.

I have no experience with really young kids and kids programs either.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 12:16 PM
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While I agree that you should talk to HAL directly, just FYI, I have been on HAL cruises where there were Down's Syndrome kids on board. One cruise, it was an entire group. On another, the cruise director won my heart by allowing a Down's child to come up on stage at every opportunity and found a way to let her participate in something. It made her very happy and warmed the hearts of all of us. So, I think that you will find that they have more experience than one might expect. Best of luck and please let us know how things go!
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 09:56 PM
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Hi JTBS,

This is from HAL's website:

Special Needs
HAL Youth Programs recognize that some children may have special needs. Special needs children are invited to attend activities based on their chronological age. HAL Youth Programs have many staff trained to work with special needs children. Guests should make HAL aware of this when booking their reservation.

http://www.hollandamerica.com/onboard/kidscruise

They do say that children must be potty-trained .

IMO, your friend is blessed to have such a special child. The DS "children" that I've met are some of the most loving, friendly people in the world!

Have a wonderful cruise!
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