Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Down syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month.

I can honestly say that I celebrate Down syndrome almost every single day.  From Carter's beautifully perfect almond eyes, to his sweet turned-up nose, all the way down to his wide feet and big adorable gap between his first two toes, his inquisitive nature, his sunny disposition (spattered with bouts of stubbornness and defiance) - I love Down syndrome.

Because I love Carter.  And Carter's Down syndrome can't be separated from who Carter is.

If the two things could be separated, I would keep them together.

In fact, Carter's Down syndrome is what brought him to our family.  If he was born with 46 chromosomes instead of 47 - he'd be living with his first mom & dad in Kyiv, Ukraine.

I'm grateful for Down syndrome.

It's no secret that Carter has some unique needs.  Lots of things have made Carter who he is - over three years of orphanage life, hyperactivity and impulsivity that are currently through the flippin' roof, life on the spectrum...and Down syndrome.

Of all the things I listed, Down syndrome is the least of our concerns and the easiest of his special needs.

In fact, I think Down syndrome is pretty beautiful.


Let's just cut to the chase (because my brain is tired from two surgical procedures for our little buddy on Monday, limited sleep from being a concerned mommy, and having a busy bee at home every day this week).  During Down syndrome Awareness Month - here's what I want you to know:

+Different is good.  Yes, Carter is different.  You will see he is 'different' the moment you lay eyes on him at the grocery store, or while he's walking down the school hallway.  And that's okay.  Actually, it's good.  Different is good, and we need those people in our circles who think differently - learn differently - play differently - grow differently - and approach things differently.

+Don't be afraid.  When you see someone with a special need, just treat them like you would treat anyone else.  Smile, genuinely.  Say hi, if it's appropriate.  Or ask how their day is going.  If they can't answer you, it's okay.  They'll be glad that you took the time to ask.

+Educate yourself.  I'm not going to take the time to go through myths and facts about Down syndrome because you can find them all over the internet.  Here are a few sites that I like:
Down syndrome Facts from the NDSS
Down syndrome Myths from DsA-OC
Here's a fact - people with Down syndrome are people.  Here's another one - they deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity.  Pretty simple, isn't it?

That's it.  If you can grasp those three simple things, then I'd say this month will be a success.


In honor of Down syndrome Awareness Month my girl Juli, and I, put together this video.  We asked the principal at our boys' elementary school if they would show it to the students sometime this month. I half expected them to say that while the video is a great idea, there are only 3 boys in the elementary school with Down syndrome...and you want us to show the video to all the students?!

I was so wrong.  Our efforts were applauded, and they sent the video out to each elementary teacher, asking them to show it when it's convenient for their particular class.

Oh yeah, they are showing it to the school board, as well.

We're awfully grateful.

Different is good!

That's all I have to say.  So reach out.  Don't be afraid.

Down syndrome is beautiful.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Their ability is stronger than their disability!


  1. I celebrate with you. every. single. day. Beautiful post. Carter is adorable!!

  2. super job on this video! Love following your blog, Ashley, and so proud of Carter. Lynn


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