Be Amazed: Parents of Kids with Down Syndrome
The organization UPS for Downs (United Parent Support for Downs Syndrome) recently put out a calendar highlighting the stories of young people with Down syndrome. The powerful message of “look what our kids can do” is evident in every glossy page and every uplifting word. (You can order a copy here)
Musicians and athletes, young people with jobs and hobbies, member of the homecoming court– this calendar is a wonderful reminder of what can happen when communities and schools open up to the potential of those with Down Syndrome and special needs. Erase the idea of limitations and start concentrating on potential! Who better to know this – and celebrate it – than parents of children with Down syndrome?
Research shows that with the right kind of support – therapeutic and educational – children with Down Syndrome can grow up to enjoy independent living, advanced education, work and romantic relationships. When the community comes to understand this – as they come to embrace this – doors will continue to open and progress can be made.
Opening doors is not an easy task, however, as parents of children with Down Syndrome are well aware. Outdated information, prejudices and apathy can throw roadblocks in the way. But how do we combat these things, so our children can enjoy their lives and live to their full potential?
First – Knowledge is key. When confronted with misinformation, combat it with statistics! The Global Down Syndrome Foundation has a great page full of counter facts to common misconceptions and be ready to whip them out when necessary.
Second – be an advocate. As you are for your child in daily life, expand that advocacy to a federal, state and local level. The National Down Syndrome Society has an advocacy arm that pulls together supporters and focuses their support on issues, which affect the education, health and earning potential of people with Down syndrome.
Third – connect with others locally to make positive change. Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action will let you know what’s going on in your city and community. An information exchange is one of the most valuable aspects of reaching out to groups of parents.
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