Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day 2014

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. The significance is 3:21, for 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.  I'm supposed to ask you to wear blue and yellow or crazy socks to "bring awareness" to my girl's world...

I'm not going to ask you to. Instead, I'm going to ask you to do three things for me:
1) Be extra patient with someone
2) Smile at someone acting "off" and not like you
3) Record deeply in your core, no matter what someone's neurological structure or chromosomal binding we all want the same thing: freedom to be ourselves and to be respected as a human being.

Usually, my days are wildly different from yours.  My child deals with demons that don't even operate in the shadows of normalcy. Today, I am going to stick a toe in the campaign that usually annoys me, because it's partly true.  "More Alike Than Different".

The reason that it annoys me, is that it encourages the usual oppression of trying to make everyone the same.  We aren't.  And that's a good thing.  We all bring different memories, skill sets, expertise, perspectives, and strengths to everything in life.  This is not bad.  This makes us interrelate and build relationships and societies.

BUT for today, I want to remind you that whether we are good at writing or math or speaking in public or serving those who cannot do for themselves, we all have interests and needs that are similar.  We want to be valued for our unique skills.  We want to be loved because of and despite our flaws.  We want to have friends and we want to live our lives with impact and gusto.  And people with Down Syndrome are no different.

Elise is an odd duck, but you share some of her oddities:

1) Elise loves chips.  She prefers it for dessert, 8 times out of 10.
2) Elise adores hockey.  She disdains figure skating.
3) Elise loves a good action adventure movie.
4) Elise thinks Ironman hung the moon.
5) She loves parties.
6) She loves hunkering down at home for days to get her "strength for life" back.
7) She loves to rewatch her favorite movies to soothe frazzled nerves.
8) Pizza is the world's best invention. 
9) Second to the TV
10) She is a chicken piranha.  She can clean it to the bone in seconds, making it sparkle, and possibly suck the marrow out.
11) She refuses to wear shoes that hurt.
12) She LOVES to observe and admire shoes and shop for shoes.
13) She loves computers.
14) She loves to swim.
15) The beach fills her soul with pure peace and joy.
16)  Elise has a memory like a steel trap.
17)  Elise's mental state is closely related to the weather outside.
18) Elise loves foreign foods.  Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Indian...she likes the interest of spices.
19) She loves to create things.
20) She loves books.
21) She has friends and treasures them.


  1. It annoys me too when people try to prove that kids with special needs are "just like everyone else." Because actually nobody in the entire world is "just like everyone else." Maybe it should be more like a Venn diagram. For example, the kids in the classroom I work in... In some ways they are all like typical kids their age... they love to play on the computer or play outside, they sometimes goof around when they're supposed to, many of them enjoy the same TV shows and movies as others their age, etc. But in other ways they are different. Myra physically cannot speak. Carlos has a temper tantrum if you change the schedule in any small way, or if you read a fictional book where unlikely things happen. ("MONKEYS! CANNOT! TALK!") Tommy has a very difficult time reading even at a kindergarten level. Katie uses a wheelchair to get around. Melissa wears hearing aides... or she's supposed to, but is constantly taking them out! Kevin thinks he's a pig, a monkey, or an elephant, depending on the day. These things make them different from other kids... and ignoring these things implies that they are negative, which they are really not... so it is best to see the whole person, and recognize all aspects of them, instead of just looking for how alike or different they are from others. (Sorry for the rambling comment! I hope it makes some sense!)

    1. Oh, my goodness, Angel,I love the idea of Venn Diagrams! So true! So perfect!!