Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learning Together - 'Sensory Stuff'.

After almost 2 years home, we're still learning about sensory stuff.  It's been the hardest special need for us to understand (it makes Down syndrome look like a walk in the park), and it's taken us this long to really figure it out.  And now that we think we've got it figured out, Carter's changing, which means his sensory diet is changing.

Have I lost you?  Sorry.  Let me explain.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD - which Carter has not been diagnosed with, although he definitely displays many of the 'symptoms') is just a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized properly into appropriate responses.  Kids with another major diagnosis (like Down syndrome or Autism) typically aren't diagnosed with SPD, because they often go hand-in-hand.

What do we mean when we say 'sensory signals' and 'appropriate responses'?!  It's taken us 2 years to understand this, and I'm going to explain it to you in one blog post.  HA.  Here's what we understand.  Throughout your day, you have many sensory experiences.  Actually, those sensory experiences are constant.

For example, right now you're probably sitting at your computer at home as you read this.  Maybe you have the radio or TV on.  The sunlight is beaming in through the window nearby.  Your dog is click-clacking his nails on your wood floors.  Maybe you can hear the neighbor mowing their lawn.   Your dishwasher might be in it's 'whirr-whirrrrr-whirrr' cycle.  Maybe you can smell dinner in the oven, or the fresh laundry pile next to you.

Those are ALL sensory experiences.  Add to that things like a cold chair, a breeze from the ceiling fan, a tag on the inside of your shirt, shoes or socks that feel too tight...and we've just had 12 sensory experiences.

Throughout your day, you and I have these sensory experiences constantly - and our brain processes them appropriately.  We don't feel nervous, jittery, or overwhelmed.  Our sensory factories are working properly.  Our brains receive the sensory experience, categorizes them correctly, and sends them down the appropriate chute.  All of us have quirks about certain types of input (nails on a chalkboard, the texture of construction paper, etc.) but we adapt to those conditions.  As long as it doesn't impact our ability to learn within our environment, it's not an issue.

A properly-working sensory factory! Everything is neat and orderly, and heading in the right direction.
Kids with a sensory disorder are unable to learn and function within their daily routine until they can 'make sense of' or regulate their bodies.  They have not developed their sensory factory yet.  When those sensory experiences come in, the brain gets confused and they end up having sensory traffic jams.  They cannot sort those experiences appropriately.  But the experiences keep coming, only to keep building up.

Once those sensory experiences have built up, we have a sensory meltdown.  These have become less frequent for Carter, as we have learned how to help him avoid them.  Because once we're at the place of a sensory meltdown, it's very hard to 'bring him back'.  Sometimes they would last an hour or two, and sometimes an entire day.

Example of a sensory meltdown :)
Carter's sensory meltdowns usually consisted of constant laughter (forced, but uncontrollable), and total inability to focus on anything.  Even for a second.  He would (and sometimes will) move from room to room, space to space, with no apparent purpose.

I used to think he was being 'naughty'.  Now I understand.  His sensory factory is not working.  He's desperately trying to regulate his little body and brain.  The sensory experiences from his day (week? month?) have built up over time, and there is a major jam.  Or sometimes, he has not received enough sensory input, and he's searching for more.

Carter has been hit with a double whammy.  Kids with Down syndrome frequently have some sensory issues.  Kids who spend their early years in an orphanage will almost definitely have sensory issues.  Why?  Let's look at Carter's first years of life, compared to a baby raised in a loving home.  For our story, we'll call the baby Annie.

A baby's main learning senses include vision, touch (called 'tactile'), movement within space/gravity (called 'vestibular'), and muscles/joints/ligaments (called 'proprioception').  As little Annie lays on her blanket (covered in sensory-rich items like a mirror, tags with different textured ribbons, fluffy fabrics and materials, hidden squeakers or crinkly-tabs), her mama puts a musical toy in front of her.  She may lift her head - which will be difficult for an itty-bitty.  But curiosity (and a cheerleader mama) will encourage her to keep raising her head (vestibular).  Her arms and legs will also move as she gets excited (proprioception).

Random 'Baby Annie' :) - enjoying the sensory experiences around her
As all of this is happening, little Annie is organizing and sequencing all of the sensory information received with each movement of the arms, legs and head.  Her muscles are responding, and with each response she refines her skills.  Eventually, she'll be able to reach out, grab the toy, and pull it towards herself.  Her system is organizing information in order to allow her to learn about her environment.  She will continue to learn and grow from this sensory information.  She will begin to feel comfortable with her body in space.

Now let's talk about Carter's first years.

Carter spent most of his time alone.  In a crib.  On his back.  Maybe a toy was tied to his crib.  He was probably lucky enough to have a cushion on his crib instead of the hard particle board.  He probably had little-to-no tummy time as an infant.  Babies are easier to handle if they're all on their backs - no tipping to worry about.  And when you're a nanny to 5-10 babies at once, you do what's easiest.

This is a typical Eastern European crib.  Actually, it's a little nicer than the norm.
He didn't have a mama to cheer him on, and encourage him to lift his head and grab that toy.  He missed out on MANY sensory experiences, which means his brain never made the sensory connections that it was supposed to.  He sensory factory was never finished.  In many ways, it's still 'under construction'.

So right now, at this moment, Carter gathers information from sight, sound, touch, movement, and pull of gravity like any other child.  BUT.  Those experiences, in Carter's brain, are not organized or processed correctly.  So his brain sends out an inappropriate response.

The brain will respond in two ways.  Either it fails to register and won't respond to the input or sensory experiences (Hypo-responsive), or it will register those experiences too intensely (Hyper-responsive).  Most kids (Carter included) are Hyporesponsive in some areas, and Hyperesponsive in others. But in most cases, Carter is Hyporesponsive.  He is a sensory 'seeker'.  He tries to bombard his sensory system in an effort to gain more sensory input.  He uses his brain to constantly search for information, in order to make sense of the world around him.  Anyone who knows Carter would know that he is ALWAYS on the go.  He moves around constantly, trying to regulate his sensory system by searching for input.

On the go - pushing, pulling, dragging - searching for that sensory input.
Talk about exhausting!

Something we have learned, though, is that Carter knows what his body needs.  A wise, wise mama once told me this and I remember wondering how in the world it was possible.  Now I see it with my own eyes, and it's absolutely true.  Carter knows what his body needs, and he gives us cues. It's up to us to interpret those cues.

When he is seeking out what he feels his brain is requesting, he might jump/push/pull - this is proprioceptive input.  Carter craves proprioceptive input - pushing/pulling a weighted cart or a stroller is highly relaxing for him.  Roughhousing with his daddy would also fall into this proprioceptive category - and Carter just eats it up.  Sometimes Carter might spin in circles - this is vestibular input.  He usually laughs while doing this - which I can't explain, other than it seems like a 'release' for him.  He also loves deep pressure like a weighted blanket or compression vest - this is tactile input.  Even a quick back rub or tight hug can make a difference, and will help him to regulate his sensory system.

Sometimes, you might see me 'hovering' over Carter.  It might look like we're not willing to let him explore his environment, and you might wonder why we don't just let him run 'like the other kids'.  Because he is always in search of sensory information, he will go where his sensory system takes him.  At church, it might be out the front door to the parking lot or into the fellowship hall to swipe cups and plates full of food off the tables.  In the store, it might be down the aisles and out of my sight.

I'm not hovering.  We're not overprotective.  We need to have eyes (and usually a hand) on Carter - at all times.  It's not a matter of us 'teaching him' how to stay by us.  It's a matter of helping him build that sensory factory to a place where it works effectively, and his body won't be constantly craving sensory input.

You might see me hugging him or squeezing him super tight.  He might even be struggling to get free.  You might wonder why I don't just let him free and 'leave him alone!'.  When we can sense that he's searching for that sensory input, we try to give it to him in ways that are appropriate for the environment.  Giving him a cart to pull around the sanctuary wouldn't be appropriate during church (although Carter LOVES to run around the sanctuary when it's empty - we do it often!) - but a big tight squeeze gives him some good tactile input.  If we're lucky, a few of these throughout the morning might just hold him over until we get home :)

You may have heard the term 'sensory diet' before.  Basically, this refers to all the sensory input that we provide for our child on a daily basis.  It's the intentional, sometimes planned sensory experiences that we immerse our children in.

Right now we are not very consistent with Carter's sensory diet.  It's a little willy-nilly, and we just work on giving him what he needs, when he needs it.  However, I think a more organized, planned sensory diet would bring some noticeable changes in his sensory seeking behaviors. We'll get there :)

Some of Carter's favorite sensory activities include:
Pushing or pulling a little shopping cart (preferably outside!).

The beloved cart.
To add some extra heavy work, we sometimes toss some heavy toys inside! 
Running with a noisy alligator pull-toy around a 'track' (we had a nice 'track' for him to run around throughout the rooms of our old house - here at Mimi & Poppy's house he runs around the island.  Thankfully, we'll have an island in our new house!).
Reading books or watching the ipad under his weighted blanket.
Playing with water beads (Please tell me you've used these! They're awesome!! Thanks Auntie M & Uncle T!).
Taking a bath or shower.
Chewy (fruitsnacks) or crunchy (pretzels) foods.
Jumping on a trampoline (or a bed!).
Anything rhythmic - a train going round & round the tracks, rowing/rocking a toy boat, flipping a switch on & off, opening & closing a cabinet or door.
Scooping colored noodles (or anything small - legos, beans, pebbles)

We'd love to get Carter to a place of enjoying the swing (right now he really, really dislikes it - so we're trying not to push pun intended!).  This would be a great opportunity for him to get some sensory input in the mornings before school.  This is something we plan to work on once we're in the new house.

Used to love it.  Now hates it.  Bummer.
I also want to build him a light table once we're in the new house (I just haven't told Jake yet...!).  I even started a Pinterest board called 'Light Table' - so it's pretty much a done deal :)  Carter seems to crave visual input - he likes seeing things in different lighting situations (in front of a lamp or flashlight, or against the window), so I think a light box would give him that input that he seems to crave.

I'd also like to start things like this (this video cracks me up - its a sweet mom who is trying to show how she uses the weighted ball - and her son is doing the recording.  It's a hoot.  He sneezes, and tries desperately through the video to get his stuffed animal in the frame.  Poor mom wants to yell 'KNOCK IT OFF!' I'm sure.  But of course, she's on camera...ha.), and also some therapy brushing.  I'm not going to go crazy with the brushing - I'll just start it once or twice a day and see what happens from there.  You can search 'OT Brushing' or 'Sensory Brushing' on YouTube - but it's basically using a soft-bristled brush to literally 'brush' his arms & legs.  It gives lots of sensory input and can help to regulate his body.

I've wondered if we'll just have sensory stuff going on forever, or if Carter will outgrow some of it.  I'm not really sure there is a definite answer to this question.  But I like to think about it this way: When Carter first came home, the concept of using his own spoon to feed himself was completely foreign.  I had many frustrating 'lessons' with him.  He wanted nothing to do with it (because even at 3.5 years old, the nannies fed the children with a spoon for each meal).  After some time, he became more comfortable with the idea of holding the spoon, and eventually he would attempt to spoon feed himself his yogurt.

At first, it was a nightmare.  Yogurt spilling everywhere, wobbly spoon, sometimes scooping upside down.  I wondered if he'd ever get it.  But with lots of practice, and loving corrections from a cheerleader mama, Carter can do it.  Carter uses a spoon like a pro.  He holds it correctly, the spoon isn't wobbly or shaking, and the food makes it all the way from the bowl to his mouth.

Our hope is that in the future, Carter can receive sensory input, process it correctly in his brain, and give out the appropriate response.  Once those connections are made, and that sensory factory is built, we hope that we can 'back off' a little bit and allow Carter to be more independent in all areas of life.

Until then, we'll just buy stock in water beads and have sore arms from all the roughhousing and big tight squeezes.

I can't explain this, and haven't found any concrete evidence, but Carter's sensory 'stuff' seems to cycle. A few weeks ago, we had a very rough week.  He just couldn't get his little body regulated, no matter how much input we gave him.  Then one day, he just mellowed out and was focusing on tasks again.

As much as I've tried to wrack my brain, I can't think of anything that we did differently.  I want so badly to find the 'magic potion' that will instantly regulate him - but that just doesn't exist.  It's a process, and it seems to randomly cycle.

Some weeks suck (sorry, but there's just no other way to say it...) and some are fantastic.  And the sucky weeks help us to appreciate the really good weeks.  So we take it in stride, and try to always meet him where he's at.


Now you know that when I say 'sensory stuff' - this is what I mean.  It's a big, complicated mystery to us still.  And maybe it always will be.  But I've done my best to explain it to you - and typing it all out in black & white has helped me to understand it a bit more, too.

For more information about 'sensory stuff', you can check out these helpful sites.

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation 
A Child's View of Sensory Processing (YouTube video) - really helpful if you're still feeling confused!
Signs & Symptoms of SPD (Parent Fact Sheet)

Each child is so very different, and these are just the things that we notice in Carter.  I hope this post has been helpful for you in understanding a little bit more about sensory processing and how Carter is affected by it.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Phew! :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

As it turns out....

....I haven't blogged or facebooked much for Down syndrome Awareness Month.

Not because I'm too busy.
Not because I didn't take any pictures to go with my post (although that is sometimes my reason for not blogging....).
Not because I can't think of what to say or how to phrase it.
Not because I'm so full of emotion I just can't possibly let it all out.

But because I just don't think about Down syndrome all that much.  I think about Carter.

Here's what I know - Carter loves school.  He has friends at school - and he talks about them at home.  He says things like "Henry bus".  "Jordan music".  "Caleb ball".  He knows his teacher and aides and therapists and loves each and every one of them.

Carter loves church, too.  He knows that at church, we see Uncle Ben (even though we live with him now, and Carter sees him every day, he still talks about Uncle Ben at church) and we see Rachel and we see Buzz (the sweet lady who cuts his hair).  He knows that we see his friend, Elijah, at church too - because he's not in his class anymore.  In fact, when we talk about friends at school, Carter is quick to tell us "Elijah church" - not school.

For at home, Carter loves doing anything - as long as it's outside.  We run, we walk, we ride in the stroller or wagon, we prance around the driveway, we eat apples in the grass, we pull a cart or push a stroller up and down the sidewalk, we roll a truck down the driveway - it really doesn't matter what we do, as long as we do it outside (everyone say a prayer for mama as winter is quickly approaching in Wisconsin...).  Carter has gained much independence this summer - just the other day Jake and I were commenting on how far away from us he can get while outside, without us having to run after him.  He pulls his little cart on the sidewalk as far as he can until we yell "Turn around!" - and he can usually be trusted to turn when asked.

And sometimes he doesn't, so we run.  Fast.


Carter also loves the ipad - a little too much.  Once we're in our new house, I'm going to work on having him 'work' for his ipad time - and then only using it sparingly.  But for now, he loves it and can unplug it from the charger, carry it to the couch or bed and lay down, open it up, find his apps, and go to town.

Carter has some un-favorite things, too.  Like table time at school, vegetables, swinging, being told to do something he doesn't want to do (Yours, too? Glad it's not just mine...), riding in the cart in stores (since he's such a big boy now...), and early bedtimes.

Pretty much, Carter is a normal kid.  A normal kid with Down syndrome.

When I see the cute stories about homecoming kings and queens who happen to have Down syndrome, or videos about adults with Down syndrome who are doing things like owning restaurants or competing in sports, it makes my heart happy and sad all at the same time.

Happy because, obviously, I love to see people with Down syndrome exceeding society's expectations for them.  I want to stand up sometimes, and clap and cry and pat them on the back and hug their mommies and say WAY TO STINKIN' GO!

But also sad.

Sad because I hate celebrating something that typical people do all the time.  I've never seen a video about John Doe who owns a business - with phrases like "Blonde Chicago Man Owns Business!" while his mother is being interviewed, saying things like "You know, we just knew he could do it - ever since he was born, we just knew he would do great things! We always treated him just like our other children!"....

....right.  Because he is a children.

Just like typical kids, sometimes kids with Down syndrome act like weirdos
and do crazy things when their ma pulls the camera out.
I get it.  I totally do.  We're pleasantly surprised when we see people with Down syndrome accomplishing things like this.

But I wish we weren't.  

Maybe when Carter is voted homecoming king, it won't be headline news.  Because he won't be a school mascot - rather, he'll just be everyone's friend.

I understand why we have Down syndrome Awareness Month - because today, right now, there is a need for awareness and acceptance in our society.  But begging you to love and accept my child is not awareness.  The photo memes on facebook - they're cute.  The IDSC actually did one of Carter's picture - and it was on my desktop for a long time.  But.  I've never seen a photo circulated of a typical child with things like "Just love me for me!" or "I can do so many things!"....right?

Maybe that's more like begging and less like awareness & acceptance.

Food for thought.


Here's what I'm trying to say.

I have a friend who happens to have Lupus.  Notice, I don't refer to her as my 'Lupus Friend'.


Anyhow.  I can learn about Lupus - I can read lots of articles about my friend's symptoms and treatment plans.  I could even start a Facebook group about Lupus Awareness, and make lots of pictures with her face, and add quotes like "Lupus Doesn't Hold Me Back!" and "I Can Do Lots Of Things!".  I could be a Lupus expert.

I could do all those things and still not know her.  Learning about Lupus doesn't tell me the really cool things about my friend.  Like the fact that she loves to drink her coffee on the porch of her beautiful, old farm house.  Or that she has this awesome little prayer house tucked back in the woods, and she spends many hours there on her knees (or in her chair...) for her kids, her friends, and her church.  Knowing everything there is to know about Lupus is okay - but it doesn't tell me that she and her husband are crazy about kids and the next generation, so they lead a successful Wednesday night kids program at our church.

When I learn all I can learn about Lupus, it sometimes gets in the way of what I can learn about my friend.

I just don't want everyone to learn all they can about Down syndrome, so that it gets in the way of what they can learn about their friend.  A friend.  A student.  A neighbor.  A person.

If you take away one little tiny thing from Down syndrome Awareness Month, let it be this:

Some people have blonde hair.  Some people like sushi.  Some people drive toyotas.  Some people live in apartments.  Some people like the beach.

And some people have Down syndrome/Cerebral Palsy/Leukemia/Autism/Spina Bifida/Lupus....

I don't mean to oversimplify - but please, don't learn about the diagnosis only to miss out on a special friendship with a person.

Yes, I blog about Down syndrome or special needs parenting sometimes.  Because it's part of our life, and part of who Carter is.

Part.  Not all.  


So, I'm finished with Down syndrome Awareness Month.  Well, we all are - because it's almost November.  And for us, November is special - because it's Carter's Homecoming Month.

More on that later.

For now, just love/reach out to/get to know someone who might be a little different than you.  If you can do that, then I can chalk DsAM 2013 up as a wild success.


One Thing I Know For Sure: He's just a normal kid!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Down syndrome Awareness Walk

This past weekend we attended the Down syndrome Awareness Walk in our community.

It rained.

We didn't care.

Let me just cut to the chase.  These walks make me cry.  It started with our walk ambassador, Dan, a 25 year old man with Down syndrome.  He hardly uttered a syllable and I was already at the point of totally losing it.  I looked around at the other walkers and mommies - I didn't notice anyone else crying.

Just me.

It wasn't the words he was saying.  It wasn't even how he was saying them.

It was where they were coming from.

He's been where we are.  He's fought through the tough stuff that I lay awake and wonder about.  He's worked through it and has come out the other side.

And life on the other side looks pretty good.  Awwweeeeeeesome. {So, I guess you had to be there...}

To hear this man talk about his hopes - his dreams - his aspirations - and what he has already accomplished...well, it made me want to do a hallelujah dance.

Working (without a job coach!) - balancing a check book - telling jokes - living independently.  Some days, life with a little guy can cloud the bigger picture.  I get so caught up in surviving the afternoon that I lose sight of the end goal.

What's the end goal, for us?  For Carter?

Independence.  However that might look in 20 years.

Confidence.  He'll know that whatever the circumstance, he can.

Friendships.  Because everyone needs them.

Community.  To embrace and be embraced by those around him.

Zeal.  For life.  For family.  For his hobbies.  For the Lord.

Listening to Dan reminded me of what I always say.

Carter can.  Carter will.  Give it time, mama.

{I should listen to myself more often.}

I have so much love for every person who showed up to walk with us, and for those who reached out to us and were thinking of us on our special day.

We are blessed - so loved and supported.  And with all these sweet people around us, my heart is so full.  

Thank you - thank you - thank you - how did we get so lucky?!

Some notes.
Carter stole Little Rachel's balloon.  You can tell she has lots of sibs - she's not even upset!
The other part of 'Team Triple Trouble' is in the stroller.
The man taking the photo told us they were blocked, and Jill said "...we know they're there...".
I laugh.
Red shirt = Elijah, Teal shirt = Jonathan
Thanks, Dan, for reminding me of the bigger picture.  Someday, I hope that Carter can walk across that stage and share his story.  And I hope that the crowd will cheer and laugh and listen with great anticipation to every word.  And maybe, just maybe, there will be a mama in the crowd who is new at this, and she'll be gifted a new outlook that day.

And this mama?!  She'll be there, too.  Friends & loved ones teary-eyed and huddled close, hanging on every word.

Carter can.  Carter will.  

One Thing I Know For Sure: Aaaawwwweeeeeeeesssssoooommee ;)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month - the whole purpose is to do just that - bring awareness to our communities about Down syndrome.  This month gives us all a really great opportunity to dispel some myths about Down syndrome, and share some truths - without hurting feelings or getting in your face.  

Say huh?!  Listen, sometimes - people are insensitive.  The way they talk, the words they choose, the messages they convey.  Sometimes, people hurt us.  And while we might want to explain right then & there that they've hurt us....well, it usually isn't the best time or place.  And it usually won't be received very well.  And we'll end up looking like the crazy, ultra-sensitive mom on the playground.  So we keep quiet.  And we wait for Down syndrome Awareness Month.


Bring on the awareness.  


First, a lesson in grammar. 

It took me a long time (even after Carter came home) to understand why the way in which we speak can be hurtful.  We prefer if you use something called 'People First Language'.  

"Cuz, guys, I'm a people.  Not a diagnosis or a syndrome."
{February 2012}
Please don't write this off as 'politically correct mumbo-jumbo'.  It's much more than that.  It looks like this: "A child with Down syndrome came to the party.".  We acknowledge the person first (in this case, 'child'), then the diagnosis.  We avoid saying "A Down syndrome child..." or "A Downs child...".  


It's degrading.  Would you ever say 'A cancer child' or 'An ADHD kid'?  No.  Or, at least, I hope not.  It immediately classifies the person as not 'normal' by talking about them based on their diagnosis.  

When this happens, I cringe a little.  I don't call it out, because as I said before, it took me a long time to understand why this is hurtful.  But I cringe a little, and I wonder if the person speaking understands that they are talking about a living, breathing little boy (who is usually standing at my side).  

{February 2013}
If I had it my way, people would just say "Carter came to the party." (Look at him.  Who wouldn't want this kid at their party?!).  

Because really, he's just Carter.  


Now that you know how to speak about people with Down syndrome (or special needs, in general), let's have a lesson in how to speak TO them.

Here's a good place to start: "Hi, Carter! How are you? Can I have a high-five? Thanks, bud!".

{July 2013}
I love - love - love to see people treating Carter like a 5 year old boy.  I know it can be scary.  I know you may have never met or interacted with someone who has Down syndrome before.  I used to be scared, too.  I promise, if you take the time to get to know him, you're going to like what you see.  And you're going to want more.  

This goes for adults with Down syndrome, too.  Don't worry about how to say something, or if you're talking loud enough, or whether they'll understand you.  Chances are, they see you coming and they're wondering why you won't just say "Good morning" with a smile, like you do for everyone else.  

Individuals with Down syndrome can smell a phony a mile away.  Just be real.  Just be you.  Just talk to them like you'd talk to anyone else.  

"Hi!" is usually a good place to start.  


Here are a few facts about MY kid with Down syndrome.

Carter has 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.  You and I only have 2.  One teeny tiny little chromosome is the difference.  

That little extra chromosome means, basically, that it takes Carter longer to learn things (except those things that we don't want him to learn - like when a certain someone told him his poop looked like a banana, and now every time he poops, he says "Poop!  Banana!".  TMI?  You can thank Uncle Ben.).

Here's something that Carter learned very, very quickly :)
{July 2013}
Lots of people with Down syndrome have low muscle tone (not Carter), heart defects (not Carter), thyroid conditions (not Carter)....the bottom line?

Each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual.  Each person, like Carter, has likes and dislikes.  Each person with Down syndrome has their own personality, their own struggles, their own strengths & weaknesses.....

....each person with Down syndrome is a person.  Like you and me.  


Throughout the month of October, I'll be posting some facts about Down syndrome on my personal Facebook page and here, too.  

Let's learn and raise awareness, together.  

One Thing I Know For Sure: More alike than different.

{Somewhat weepy side note: TWO years ago this week, we were doing this and this and this.}

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