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Saturday, October 25, 2008


There is only one more week left in Oct and I realize I haven't written very many posts relating to Down syndrome for the 31 for 21 challenge. Not that all the posts had to be about Ds, but still, I thought I would have written a little more than I have so far. Most of the topics I thought about writing on I wrote about last year. Finding out about Kayla's diagnosis in My Story, 10 Facts About Down Syndrome, Characteristics, and a Questions and Answers post. Hopefully in this last week of October I'll be able to come up with a couple more Down syndrome-related posts!

The last couple of weeks I've come across a couple news articles about teens with Down syndrome being named Homecoming King/Queen. A Crown Made of Friendship, Senior With Down Syndrome Crowned High School Queen, and Senior With Down Syndrome Crowned Rocky King.

I enjoy reading inspiring articles like these; it makes me think about Kayla's future. Not necessarily the "homecoming queen" part, but the inclusion and acceptance by her peers. Being liked for who she is and having friends who care about her.

As much as I like reading these articles though, I'm looking forward to a time when it won't be so newsworthy to report the Homecoming King/Queen has Down syndrome.

It will just be so-and-so was selected as Homecoming Queen, and not so-and-so, who has Down syndrome, was selected Homecoming Queen. It will be nice for there to be a time when it becomes so common to nominate fellow students with Down syndrome, or other special needs, for the Homecoming Court alongside their peers that their differences won't have to be pointed out. It'll just be.

It already happens pretty frequently - every year since Kayla was born I've come across numerous articles about just such a thing happening at high schools across the country. It will just be nice when the whole focus isn't on the fact that the person has Down syndrome; it won't be newsworthy anymore because it just won't matter - and I mean that in a good way.

Speaking of newsworthy: The McCain-Palin Committment to Children With Special Needs - I'm glad to finally read something concrete on their plans for disability issues; before it was hard to find anything on what exactly their plans and policies were going to be. It's exciting to see both candidates addressing disability issues.

Get It Down; 31 for 21

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Bonita said...

Michelle, I went back and read your story and your post on guilt and I was in tears, not because I was upset for you, but because you wrote out such a beautiful, honest love story. It moved me deeply.

You're a great writer by the way.

Beck said...

Beautiful post, Michelle.

Debra said...

I agree with you. I am glad to see the positive press about Down syndrome but it would be nice if we found it because we knew that family instead of the focus being on Down syndrome.

Hugs and I have enjoyed your blog this month.

Debra and Hope

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce, Sarah's mom. Michelle, I just read the beautiful and honest post you titled "Guilt." I was so moved as your words tenderly described your emotional path those first few days. Although I have had a bit more time with our Sarah, I still look back on those first bumpy weeks with a few regrets, things I would have done differently. The years have eased the pain though, and her smiles and many accomplishments have erased the guilt. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Unknown said...

Yes, you're the Michelle I tagged. Sorry I meant to post a comment to let you know, but I was so exhausted when I finished my post, I just didn't do it.

I loved this post. I feel the same way. It will be such a great day when our children can be just children, and not so-and-so who has Down syndrome, or the girl in my class who has Ds, or the boy down the street that has Ds.

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

You know, I was thinking just today about equality in this country. We go on and on about wanting equality and how things "should be" equal, and then we seem to take great pains to point out the differences in our circumstances. I was thinking of it more in terms of race than Down Syndrome, but your post made me expand my thinking a bit. You're right. It will be wonderful when a person isn't first and foremost identified and defined by their mental and/or physical condition or their race or their gender or anything else. I understand why our differences are highlighted sometimes...I just don't get why they are "celebrated" and emphasized and then talked about as if they are a detriment. Again, my thought processes on this have developed in response to issues of race discrimination in our country, but I can see how these concerns would apply elsewhere. I agree with you. It will be wonderful when those tags don't matter. It will be wonderful when we describe each other by the attributes that we've purposefully caused within ourselves (i.e., she's such a NICE person) rather than ones that have happened to us and that we've had no control over (i.e., she's such a nice WHITE person, or she's such a nice BLIND person, etc.). I hope that becomes the way of things some time during my lifetime, I truly do.

Good post - it's good to read something that makes us all THINK!


Chris said...

I'm with you; I love hearing about these stories of kids with Ds being crowned Homecoming queen and king, but at the same time, I wish we lived in a world when such a happening wasn't newsworthy.

I can only hope that as our kids get older, the acceptance of those with disabilities will continue to grow; that, as you say, the Ds won't matter.

Killlashandra said...

I have to agree, it's nice to read the positive stories. :) Although, I swear my teenagers on the other hand need a reality check. I finally had it out with them at dinner the other night with the use of the "r" word in a joke that I know they were just repeating from school. However, it would be nice if they thought just a little bit about other people. They got the lecture needless to say. End mom rant here. ;)

Anonymous said...

Positive press is good, but I agree it would be nice if it was all "normal" rather than "special".

Bailey's Leaf said...

I was just talking about Kayla at work the other day. We were talking about children with disabilities in school and how that works out. I said that Kayla's schoolmates LOVE! her! Thanks for giving me some stories that I could share!


Anonymous said...

I love this post! And I agree completely. The articles make me feel happy, but really? It's not necessary for Avery to be homecoming king. Just like it's not necessary for any of my kids to become anything...other than who they are.

Does this make sense?

Anyways, glad to read about the plans for disability, too. I was having trouble finding any info, thanks for the link.


Sue said...

I agree with you. But unfortunately, our society is so focused on labels. I also can see why you questioned the report cards. It's our job to question them. You don't want her "labeled" as behind early on, when she's not for her level. The best way for her to learn and thrive is to be included, yet taught and graded on her level.

rickismom said...

Yes, just as it isn't written, the brunette became homecomming queen. But I think that this level of acceptance will be a LLOONNGG time in coming.....