Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3 – 31 for 21

Down syndrome facts have changed a lot since the terrible days of institutions and short life spans. No longer is the word “mongoloid” accepted. People who happen to have DS have rich, full, and happy lives, and their parents do, too.

Down syndrome is NOT:

  • Being institutionalized
  • A life of pain
  • Sadness
  • Never going to college
  • Not getting married
  • Suffering
  • Not able to comprehend life

Down syndrome IS:

  • Early intervention programs
  • Speech, physical, and occupational therapies
  • Full or part inclusion in typical schools
  • Having friends
  • Can and does go to college
  • Can and does marry
  • Many opportunities
  • Holding a worthwhile job
  • More and more public acceptance
  • Happiness
  • Loving life
  • Achieving amazing things
  • Having fun!

So, you may be asking about now--just what is Down syndrome exactly? That’s what we asked when Josie was born. I knew very little about it other than they were people who looked different. Growing up, I never knew anyone with Down syndrome.  I wasn’t even  aware of what the causes of Down syndrome were, or what my daughter would be like.

The nurses kept talking about something called a simian crease but I looked and looked at her hands and never noticed anything different. She does have some characteristics of DS but looks a lot like the rest of our family, too.

The hospital gave us a list of what to expect medically, but... that cold and sterile paper didn't tell us how much we would love her...and how much she would change our lives forever.

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