Friday, October 5, 2012

Changing the world...

There are a lot of myths out there about a Down syndrome parents we find ourselves combating them pretty much everyday.  It isn't always with a blog post, or letter to the editor, it doesn't always take a lawyer or fight with our school districts...and sometimes it does....but honestly the best way I have found to combat the misconceptions the people around us to just let Camden live his life. He attends a gymnastics class with his typically developing peers, he goes to a music class where all of the kids range in diagnosis to no diagnosis at all, he goes to toddler class with peer models, he goes to nursery every Sunday with the other kids his own age and of course he participates in most all of the other community activities that we can...he is loving the aquarium at this age. He isn't always able to do what the other kids around him do...but you can bet that he tries! He can't jump on his own yet, so mom helps out a little...he can't run like the other kids, but his version sure is cute to watch! Sure, modifications are needed for my little guy to be able to do the things that he does, but he is doing them none the less and the hope is that eventually Camden will be able to do the things he now needs help with, all on his own.  And all of the while I notice the people around him taking notice.  He is my ever teaching accessory.

Parents are often told when they receive a diagnosis that their child won't be like typical kids...they won't be able to do the same things, they will struggle, they will have developmental delays, they may not learn some things at all and on top of that they will have to deal with several medical issues...congenital heart disease, childhood leukemia, early onset Alzheimer's, vision and hearing problems, low muscle tone...and some of their kids will battle some of these things...but here is what they aren't told: that their child needs to be loved; their child is still a child, human in the most intrinsic of ways; that they will have glorious moments of joy; that just like any child the good will far outweigh the bad; that there are options now...that their kids will be able to play sports, ride a bike, learn to read, attend local schools and perhaps even college and much more. That they need to be given the same opportunities as any other child, because they can succeed.

This morning a fellow mom posted on Facebook the following: "The hardest thing about raising a child with Down syndrome is other people".  It is true...we have to battle every day for our children to receive the basic human rights that other children readily receive. We work to change people's views because we want our children to grow up in a world where they are openly welcomed, where they have lives, where they are given respect and opportunities...because their lives have value.

Now, I am not discounting that this journey can be a difficult one, even with its many rewards...but it would be a whole lot easier if we didn't have to consistently battle stereotypes, school districts and ignorance.  So I stand with many other parents when I echo the saying:

" I would not change my son for the world, but I would change the world for my son" 


  1. I want to be like you when I grow up! Seriously. this is about the best thing that I've read so kudos Tonya. You are a true inspiration.


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