Today is World Down Syndrome Day, celebrated by showing the ability. Although Bridget doesn't have Down Syndrome one of her best buddies does. Honestly a part of me feels silly writing today, like I am jumping on the advocacy wagon for a syndrome my own child doesn't even have.
But today is important. Today you must see the ability. You must acknowledge that all children make an impact, those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis and those children who are sadly typical without that something extra (pun intended).
You must acknowledge, today and every day, that children are different. That adults are different. That if we were all the same the "r" word wouldn't hurt. That advocacy means you stand up and speak up to support those who need acceptance and tolerance. When you see the world through your child's eye you do not see race, gender, body-size or disability. They see their friend.
World Down Syndrome Day is centered on choosing to see a child through their ability and not their disability. Children should be celebrated. Children should be encouraged to live life to their potential. Your child comes with unlimited possibilities and not one instruction manual.
Boo and her friends shouldn't be pitied. They and their parents are not heroes. They live life to the fullest. Their milestones are celebrated a little more because they have worked hard to achieve the smallest step. Just like your child a person with special needs has determination, stubbornness, laughter and love. They go to school, join Girl and Boy Scouts, play sports and have friends.
They also have something a little extra: sometimes an extra chromosome or an undiagnosed syndrome. But life would be pretty boring if the only ice cream we had to eat was vanilla. People shouldn't be the same. We should celebrate our differences and our abilities.
Take today 3/21 and celebrate those with something extra. Like jimmies.
For more information regarding Down Syndrome:
Heartbeats for Down Syndrome.
Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress http://www.mdsc.org/
National Down Syndrome Society http://www.ndss.org/Down-Syndrome/
World Down Syndrome Day http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/
A few friends of mine are participating in a "Day in the Life" stories from parents whose child has Down Syndrome. Please take a moment and check them out, they are kind of cool!
The Bates Motel
Big Blueberry Eyes