Saturday, October 5, 2013

Down syndrome awareness month

October is Down Syndrome awareness month. To celebrate, I'm sharing a photo and something we've learned every day this month on Instagram (mammat10). I'll post a few here from time to time.
 Today's insight is about family- the bond Penny and Porter share is unlike any other. They are so alike in so many ways. She watches out for him at school- she checks on him during playground time. And he is ultra aware of her emotions. He learns from her examples and she teaches willingly. She knows him as her brother and loves him for everything he is. They are playmates and friends already.
Every child has their own schedule. While there are milestone ranges for typical kids, there are even bigger ranges for kids with DS. Penny walked before 10 months and Porter is not yet walking at 19 months. Regardless of when the milestones happen, we celebrate them. With Porter, perhaps we celebrate more because we notice more. We're more aware of the mechanics behind the milestones, more aware that he's working much harder to meet these milestones. So we celebrate the little steps on the way to the big ones. And we watch, mesmerized, at the way Penny meets her milestones so effortlessly. We're proud of them both and we'll push them both towards the next milestones, celebrating all along the way!
Confession- I stare too. When we see an older individual with Down Syndrome in public, I stare. I imagine I stare for the same reasons many others do- these individuals are different...I'm intrigued by the differences and I have questions about the differences. It took me a few months to have the courage to approach these individuals, introduce myself and share our connection. We've met some of the most amazing people by chance this way! Now we're sometimes on the receiving end of the stare. I'd love if people would come up and ask us questions instead of just staring! Share a smile, share some kind words, share that you understand that "a person's a person no matter how small!" So next time you find yourself staring, wave and say hi.

Understand that you, as a parent of a child with Down syndrome, like any other parent, have received the most amazing gift. You have the privilege of raising a child. They may not be the baby you expected when you set out on the journey to parenthood, but they are the perfect baby for you!

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