Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The best quote I have ever come across in all of my reading about Down syndrome:

October is Down syndrome awareness month and the above quote is the best piece of Down syndrome knowledge I can spread. Every child with Down syndrome is different; no two are exactly the same. Their likes, dislikes, quirks, traits, the way they learn....all different. With Down syndrome, as well as other disabilities, too often others insist on grouping and generalizing.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard... "Oh, that is common for kids with Downs" or "Downs kids are known for ________" or "That is just the way babies with Down syndrome are." or "You are so lucky, most kids with Downs ____________." or "She is doing so well for a child with Down syndrome." ...I would be rich.

UGH. The people behind those statements are often professionals. Whether it be a doctor, nurse, therapist, teacher, heck, even other parents of kids w/Ds. And they are always people who don't know my daughter. And you know what? Often they are wrong.

I HATE generalizations. I realize it is human nature to generalize, and I am guilty of it myself. However, Charlotte has taught me why it is so incredibly important not to do this. By generalizing, we are limiting our children; often giving them excuses to do something lesser.

When you look at Charlotte, please don't see Down syndrome. See a sassy, independent, head strong 3-year-old. A preschooler who loves ice cream, blowing bubbles, Dora the Explorer, and playing in the sandbox. A child who learns best by watching her peers & siblings, is incredibly affectionate, and whose new favorite phrase is "my iPad...please." A little girl who drops to the ground when she doesn't want to do something, not because "Downs kids are stubborn," but because Charlotte is stubborn. An incredibly smart little lady who can identify all her letters, colors, numbers, and shapes; and no, that doesn't mean she is "doing soooo well for a kid w/Ds" it means she is doing soooo well because she is Charlotte, and we expect her to do well, just as we expect her siblings to do well.

Do me a favor? Embrace difference. Be unique. Treat each person as an individual.

Happy Down syndrome awareness month.


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