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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Down Syndrome and Driving

When Kayla was first born I didn't have a thought about her being able, or not being able, to get her driver's license. It wasn't something I thought much about - I didn't know if it was possible or not.

Somewhere along the way I guess I read that the majority of people with Down syndrome don't have their driver's license and that did make me a little sad. It just seems like such a 'rite of passage' in your teens to get that license. Edited to add: I should mention that if, in fact, Kayla won't/can't be able to drive, I am ok with that. There are a lot of people who don't drive for one reason or another and they do just fine getting around.

Over the 6 years since Kayla was born I have heard/read of individuals with Down syndrome who do have their driver's license...so I know it's not impossible.

2 stories have been making the blogs recently and I wanted to share them as well.

The first is a video on Kelly Fitzgerald - one of only 2 people in New Zealand with Down syndrome who has their driver's license.

and this article about Lee Jones: Man With Down Syndrome Talks of Dreams Pursued

I especially like this quote from the article: "Everyone, whether they have a disability or not, has the right to have their own dreams," Jones said. "Dreams let you explore the future without being tied to what is reasonable or expected. But, at some point, it is important to turn your most important dreams into the reality of actually living those dreams."

Who knows if Kayla will get her driver's license...only time will tell...but in the mean time I'm going to keep my dreams and hopes that she will.

Get It Down; 31 for 21

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Lacey said...

My hope is more and more DS kids will get their licenses as we continue to teach people that they can do whatever they want in life. I know we have a long way to go but we've come far from when they used to institutionalize all DS kids.

Stephanie said...

I honestly never even thought about it before. My son is only 4 but it seems strange now that it's never crossed my mind.
Too busy keeping him alive and healthy till now I guess.

If I've learned anything from my child it is this. He may or may not ever drive a car or ride a bike, or do many other "typical" things that other people do, but I know this for sure..
One way or another, he'll get where he wants to go. He'll do it in his own way in his own time, just like he's done everything else.
And when he gets there.. I'll be waiting as proud as ever.

Sasha said...

I never really thought about it either. Maybe because my little one is only 10 months. However now that you mention it..why not dream big and hope for the best.

Lianna said...

I am so happy that you posted this topic. I do wonder if this is a skill that Gabriel will possess. In Canada, I am not aware of any people with Ds who do drive. I'll have to search.

I'm certainly inspired to get MY driver's license more than ever now. At almost 45 years old, I find that I'm more fearful than ever, so Kelly's story of just going for it is really helpful at this time in my life.

Calico Sky said...

"Dreams let you explore the future without being tied to what is reasonable or expected. But, at some point, it is important to turn your most important dreams into the reality of actually living those dreams."

Thank you so much for this Michelle. That impass/goodbye I blogged about very much centres around this, I believe stronly that dreams without goals are simply wishes and that we can live out our dreams, sadly I think often men are so much more stuck in the "we must do what is right, what if" mentality.

Re Kayla. I hope if it is her dream to drive, then she's able to do just that. With her fighting spirit and an amazing family as advocates I have no doubt :)

my family said...

Thank you for this, everyone DOES have dreams

Nicki said...

What an awesome young lady! She can be a great inspiration for kids with special needs, and for ALL of us!

The Girls' Mommy said...

Wow. I just read that quote like three times. I love it. Wow.

I used to get sad wondering if Abbie would or wouldn't drive. But as she's gotten older and formed her own personality I've discovered that she actually prefers to be shuttled around like a princess. She will choose the bike trailer over her own bike every time. Its so she can look out and wave :)

chelle said...

All we can do is hope for the best for our children. I am glad you see the hope.

Tausha said...

Great post. I have had those thoughts as well since Sam's older sister will be 16 in 5 months and is studying for her drivers license test. I have hopes someday that Sam will drive, you never know.

Sue said...

That is so sweet about the dreams. We all have them for our kids - regardless of their individual abilities. So many with special needs teach us about surpassing expectations all the time. :)

A Mom's Life said...

No matter what the disability or issues with our children we can never give up hope that they can and should be able to participate in so many rites of passage. We can always dream while realizing that reality and dreams do not always coincide. When we give up those dreams and hopes then we are doing ourselves and our children an injustice! I loved your blog today Michelle! I love your attitude and proactiveness!

Brandie said...

That video is the best. I could watch it over and over! I love your new blog header!

Lance Boldt said...

Our Josh started in on wheels as soon as he could. If you think it's hard to keep up with a kid with DS - wait 'til their rolling.

Here are some stories of Josh from big wheels to bikes to - yes - the car.


Christina said...

What an inspirational post - I think that's a great outlook!