October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and this marks the second installment of my posts for Down Syndrome Awareness. First, I’ll begin by telling you about a few of my experiences that I have had with people who have Down Syndrome.
My first experience was in my local church. I was a teenager and our church had two girls with Down Syndrome, both around my age, who attended. I would have loved getting to know them, but I never got a chance.
There were always activities going on and I would never see them at any functions. I would always see them in morning service, though. Whenever I came in contact with them, I would always speak.
When I think about this I always wonder why they never attended any functions, because I would have loved getting to know them.
As I look back on that experience, I cannot recall the church being very open or inclusive, but maybe the parents of these young women, just did not feel comfortable.
Who knows what the case was, but I do know that getting to know them would have been a very cool experience.
My second experience was when I moved to Georgia and I attended at church that had the cutest little boy, who happened to have Down Syndrome. This little boy had an older brother, and awesome parents.
His parents had him in a lot of activities at the church. I recall him being a member of the Cub Scouts and he participated in many activities that the church had.
I never got the opportunity to teach him in any of the classes that I taught, but in my observation, everyone treated him like the other kids.
My last experience is again, one in which a young adult male attends the same church as I do. He actually lives with our pastor and when I see him my heart smiles.
He is very sociable and I always speak to him, when I see him. I have even asked him how things were going and we have a pretty good conversation He is always short with his responses, but he does talk to me.
One day after church, the young man was shooting basketball and my daughter headed for the ball. The young man took time to play with my daughter. I recall him saying, “Get the ball.”
I stood by and had a proud parent moment, because not only does both of these people have Down Syndrome, but they were doing what any person would do.
My heart was overjoyed and full of happiness, because even though people with Down Syndrome are different, they are still people who enjoy the same things that everyone else does.
People with Down Syndrome are no different from you and me. The only difference is the number of chromosomes. As a result of having the extra chromosome, delays in development are present, but this does not mean that a person with Down Syndrome cannot do anything.
The experiences that I have had with people who have Down Syndrome helped me see that we are more similar than different. Sure, many children who have Down Syndrome have developmental delays, but this does not make them any less of a person.
Since the day my daughter was born, I have always treated her like she is normal. In my mind she is normal and perfect just the way she is. However, I have been around people who make rude comments about people who are different and that must stop. We are all the same and no one is better!
People with Down Syndrome are people first and must be treated like they are people and not someone from another planet.
Just because someone looks different, learns differently or even acts different, does not mean that they are any less human than the next person.
If you ever come in contact with a person who has Down Syndrome, say hello. You never know what you can learn.
Below is a video that I so enjoy. This video shows a young woman who has Down Syndrome, who is more similar to us than different. If you cannot view the video below, click here.
Have a great weekend!