Stuffsoup – a little blog with a lot of "stuff"


3/21

Posted in Down syndrome by stuffsoup on March 21, 2010

Today is World Down Syndrome day.

Down syndrome is characterized by a person having all or a part of an additional 21st chromosome, thus having 3 copies instead of 2. It is also known as trisomy 21. Thus, the significance of the date 3/21. So, today is a day for people all around the world to pause and reflect on Down syndrome and how it has touched their lives and perhaps even raise awareness of what Down syndrome is and what it is not.

Down syndrome is not scary once you know more about it. It is not contagious as some children have worried. It does not necessarily mean that there will be bigger hardships in health than for a typical child. It does not mean that a child can’t learn or grow or live a happy, productive life.

Down syndrome is a relatively common genetic condition affecting approximately 1 in 800 births. It is characterized by certain physical features and thusly it is more visible. It does affect learning and development but not necessarily in such a profound way as was once thought.

Down syndrome touched my life just moments after I kissed the forehead of my newly born first child. I felt scared then, nervous, unsure, but also determined. I am forever grateful to the friends who reached me with books and information so I could know more and do more. I have learned so much about children, about development, about things most parents take for granted, about patience, about letting things go, about fighting for things worth fighting for, about life. I have found amazing people who are also on this journey and amazing people who are not, but who are accepting in a way that makes my heart full.

And, while I still worry sometimes and cry sometimes and ache sometimes. Usually the worry, the tears, and the aching is because of what someone else has done to my child, not what my child has done. There are definitely challenges (some bigger than others) in helping her reach her potential, but I love her so much and I am so proud of how far she has already come. I know there are more great things in store for her and I can hardly wait to be there for them.

So, happy Down syndrome day everyone. And, if you know someone touched by Down syndrome, feel free to wish them a happy Down syndrome day too.

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3 Responses to '3/21'

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  1. Connie Snow said,

    Wonderful and beautiful words. Thankful to have met you too, all because of an extra chromosome! Got to get our sweeties together soon. Sorry to have missed the birthday party, thought I was gonna make it……….got my schedules a little messed up! We’ll have to celebrate — more parties are always fun. Hugs and Happy 3/21!

  2. Andrea Dahl said,

    Michelle! This is a great post. I have a special love of people with Downs Syndrome young and old – and you and all the parents and caregivers who make their lives full and are willing and open to share them with the rest of us – who are eager and learning to love them!

    Also, I think she sort of stole the show at my volunteer training. Perhaps one day I’ll have to train her in as an instructor – I think she was far more captivating than me 🙂

    Happy Monday!

  3. Amy Suenmicht said,

    Great story, Michelle!

    My younger sister also has Down Syndrome. She attended school on the early cusp of integration and inclusion. In all my life, I have never met another group of people who think and feel so honestly. If you want to see true emotion, true trust, spend time with a child with Down Syndrome . Touches your heart in a way (sometimes bittersweet) that none other can do.

    Thank you for not only accepting a child with Down Syndrome, but celebrating that. Your family’s life, your daughter’s life and that of those who know you are certainly enriched!

    Blessings!


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