Today is World Down Syndrome Day. I know, I know, there seems to be a “Day” for everything now. But this one is of special meaning to me because, as you all know, my firstborn, my Megan, has Down syndrome. She recently turned 25.
|1 1/2 years old|
There are typical characteristics of Down syndrome that most children have, but like anyone else, each baby who has it is unique and may have all, most, or even just a few of the features. Almost always, you can tell a child with DS when you see him or her, usually by the almond shaped eyes and flat nasal bridge. Heck, Megan herself recognizes other people with it all the time.
|2 1/2 years old|
|Caitlin 8? Megan 11?|
It’s okay to look, but it’s not okay to stare.
It’s okay to let children ask why a person with DS looks different. I always think of these situations as opportunities to educate.
If you are talking about someone who has Down syndrome, do not say things like, “ He’s a Down’s.” or “My neighbor’s daughter has a Down’s.” Our children are NOT “a Down’s.” They are children who have Down syndrome. Would you talk about a person who has cerebral palsy and say, “He’s a palsy?” No. Our children or family members who have Down syndrome are people first, and they just happen to have Down syndrome, second.
|Me, Megan 10, Caitlin 7|
|Playing with her people.|
She loves cooking with me, loves helping me take care of our home, and most people would be amazed at what she is able to do in that regard.
Megan loves to color and paint. She loves to do crafts, any crafts! And when she does, she always wants to give them away as presents for people.
|Megan put a mobcap|
on Pepper Kitty!
Megan has a great sense of humor, and when she’s not deliberately making a funny, she’s oh so innocently sending us into fits of laughter. Like the time I made baked chicken leg quarters for supper and a few minutes after I had given her plate to her, she brought it to Phil, saying, “Somehow this leg and thigh are stuck together.” We just about wet ourselves laughing about that! And he cut the leg and thigh apart for her.
|In one of her homeschool group|
plays: The Secret Garden.
When she was born and I was soon told that she has Down syndrome, I loved her even more. Having Down syndrome isn’t a tragedy; it just changes things somewhat.
I always said that raising Megan was like taking the scenic route in life. It’s definitely slower, but that allows us to see and experience many things that we otherwise wouldn’t had she been an average child.
|Megan set to exercise with the |
Wii. Is this regulation uniform? ;)
I’m so glad I have Megan. I’m glad there is a World Down Syndrome Day, so we can help others to know and learn about it. We can help people understand that these are people first. Their individualism, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, their talents and idiosyncrasies, make up who they each are, the wonderful people they each are. And *that* is something to celebrate.
I love you Megan Heather!