Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

I would call this World Down Syndrome Day a success.

My students had this written on our back board when
 I came in this morning.
On Tuesday this week I offered my classes an extra credit opportunity.  They could answer four questions about DS and World Down Syndrome Day and turn them in, and for a few additional points, they could do it in a more creative and decorative manner so that it could be displayed in our classroom.  I was overwhelmed by what was turned in.  Some of my students really impressed me with their statements, their creativity, and most importantly, their effort.  In one of my classes we had some time to answer some of the questions they asked and it was a really great conversation.  I know that these kids will walk out of my room at the end of the year knowing so much more than they did when they walked in; in so many ways.  What I'm most proud of them for is my belief that should they encounter someone with DS they will treat them with respect and in many instances if they were to come across some with DS who wasn't being treated well, they would stand up for them.

I also sent out an email to the staff at my school and got such great responses from them as well.  I suggested they ask questions if they didn't know something and that they verify things they thought they knew.  I was so touched by the responses from my coworkers.  Some asked questions, some shared stories with me about individuals they knew that had DS, and some just thanked me for helping to spread awareness.  Even my principal came up to my classroom to ask me to tell him something about DS.

There were endless comments on Tera's picture on Facebook with her sporting her rockin' chromosome tshirt and many more shares of her posts and people's own posts showing their support of DS.  With every new post and fact I was reminded over and over of the good in all the people we care about.

One of the most emotional parts of my day was coming across the Facebook post of our good friends; friends who just happen to be the parents of Tera's best friend.  They bought DS tshirts for everyone in their family (and that's six people) and they were all wearing them today.  They have been amongst Tera's biggest supporters (and she has many) and in the words of my friend's post, "if you don't believe two year olds can be best friends, you have never seen them together". I know I have said it here before, but I simply can't explain how reassuring it is to me that Tera will have a friend and peer who will have to be told Tera has DS and is different because she just won't know anything but the Tera who's always been with her.  Our friends are the kind of parents that you hope your kids' friends have because they teach their kids respect, inclusion, and what a good person should be.

At Tera's daycare, all the teachers posted signs about World Down Syndrome Day around the building and they asked the kids to wear crazy colored socks (check out the reason here).  It was so awesome to see how supportive everyone who takes care of her is (not that we didn't know how great they were before).

My friends wore blue and yellow, my students did their research, our family and friends posted wonderful things about the day and Tera on Facebook, and I was reminded that though we have our difficulties, this is not the end of the world.  Tera will flourish and teach and inspire and will always have more support than she could ever imagine.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day everyone!

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