March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. This year marks the first year it is recognized by the UN. The date is in reference to the 21st chromosome, which in the case of people with Down Syndrome there are 3 instead of the usual 2. (3/21)
I wanted to get the word out this year because this is the first year I have been actively Tweeting and I see the power of social networking. One post can set off a wildfire, spreading faster then you can hit refresh! Why does it always have to be the negative stuff that spreads? Why don’t we spread some positive and share our stories? I am sure all of us at one point have had an opportunity to be around a person with Down Syndrome. With all the negative press about pre-natal screening and an outrageous court case for a “wrongful birth” I wanted to get some positive concepts of DS out there!
I have blogged about K’s Autism more than his Down Syndrome because those are the traits that come through the most. It is difficult to compare K to other people with Downs because of his Autism and Developmental Delay. I don’t know how K’s future will be. I know he won’t be able to live independently or in a group home like most adults with DS. I know he won’t be able to have a job. But that is K.
When I was in school there was a class we would call the “Metro kids”. There were kids with DS and ASD and other disabilities. Some of the other kids would make fun of them, calling them “retarded”. I always felt so horrible watching them get teased and I would make sure I said Hi and smiled. When I was a teen I worked at McDonalds and one of my co-workers had DS. It was his job to keep the restaurant clean. He took his job very seriously and did an amazing job. He would always say Hi to everyone and if we were in the lunchroom together he would tell me about his favourite shows and movies. He had a great sense of humour.
K has an amazing sense of humour for a non-verbal! His laugh is so contagious! He loves to be held and cuddled and tickled. Even though he will be 18 next month and weighs 200 lbs, he still loves to crawl into bed with Mom and Dad on Sunday mornings.
He can make choices from a picture board and I hope one day to get him a better communication device where I can actually have a conversation with him. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what goes on in his head.
Please share your story. If not, forward this post to someone who might. Let’s show the world what Down Syndrome is really all about. The person. Not the disability.