Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3

This past Saturday Tom and I took advantage of an opportunity provided by NADS (National Association for Down Syndrome) and attended an all day conference on many of the various aspects of DS.  One of the reasons I was looking forward to spending a whole day at a conference on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday and miss out on time with my little girl, was the keynote speaker Dr. Brian Skotko.  I've never had the privilege of hearing him speak before but I'd heard really great things.  Dr. Skotko is a geneticist out of Massachusetts General Hospital whose sister has Down Syndrome and he has spoken at many different DS events.  Earlier this year I posted a link (here it is again) a to a study he did about how individuals with DS affect the other members of their family and it was a study that got a lot of coverage.

Well last Saturday we did get to hear him, in person, and I was not disappointed.  The format of his address was to read several excerpts from his book Common Threads, which is a collection of stories celebrating DS, and then asked us as an audience to reflect on each story by answering a question about a person in our lives that has DS.  I'm going to list my answers to these questions, without the questions themselves and just leave it to you to imagine what each question might have been.  Needless to say some of the questions and my resulting reflections, brought tears to my eyes, but it was an incredibly valuable experience.  Our instructions at the end were to put this list in an envelope that they provided and keep it in a nightstand or somewhere nearby so that when the numerous inevitable struggles come up, we have a list of positive thoughts to refer back to.  So without further ado, here's my list of Tera reflections:

1.) She never gives up even when she falls down repeatedly
2.) How she continually inspires smiles from other people no matter where she is
3.) Different isn't bad.  Just because you think something will turn out a certain way and it doesn't, it doesn't mean it wont' be better
4.) More energy than anyone else I know and picking up new signs quickly
5.) To find something she loves and can do to her heart's content whether she does it with typical kids or not
6.) Problems and difficulties and struggles are all relative
7.) You are given things you can't handle, but you do it because you love and because they need it and no matter what the struggle, she's worth it and has made our lives better
8.) She has brought everyone closer than we ever imagined.  She has inspired them, taught them, made them proud, and yet again proves that it's the little things that count the most
9.) Her friends who don't know any different
10.) To do something she loves and be happy doing it
11. ) Friends.  I always want her to have friends that are as supportive and loving as ours

* My disclaimer is that I copied these exactly as I had them written that day

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