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Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I Want Others To Know

The June issue of the Lowcountry Parent magazine is their special needs issue. There is an adorable girl with Down syndrome on the cover. The cover story is The Bright Future for Children With Down Syndrome. Can I tell you how much I love that headline?! The bright future. For children with Down syndrome. Wouldn't it be nice if medical professionals said something like that?

Another article in this issue is Our Special Stories. They were looking for parents of children with special needs to tell their story. To talk about what they've learned and what they want others to know.

Here is the article I submitted (and in the print edition of the magazine Kayla's picture is used on the index to the story).

I have a daughter who will be 8 in July. She has blond hair and a sparkle in her bright, beautiful blue eyes. She loves school and will be going in to second grade. She has a younger brother who likes to follow her around and do all the things she’s doing. She likes playing dress-up, coloring and being outdoors. Her favorite food is popcorn. She can’t carry a tune, but she loves to sing. She doesn’t know a stranger and will say hi to every kid she passes on the street.

Kayla was born with an extra chromosome on her 21st pair. In medical terms she has trisomy 21. In layman’s terms, she has Down syndrome. The National Down Syndrome Congress has a campaign called “We’re More Alike Than Different.” That’s what I want others to know. That although my daughter has this extra chromosome – this extra chromosome that makes learning a little harder for her, that makes speech a little harder for her – she is more like your child than different. She still likes to do things kids do and she has the same range of emotions.

Don’t look at her, or me, with pity or sadness. Instead, reach out and get to know us. Make friends with us. Isn’t that what all parents want for their children – to be included and valued and accepted for who they are? That’s what I want for my daughter, too. For genuine friendships to grow between her and her classmates.
It can and does happen, if just given a chance. My daughter received this note from a classmate: “Kayla, I love you. You are the friend I’ve been looking for. I was looking for a kind friend. A soaring friend. A BFF. My BFF.”

If I could only say one thing about having a child with Down syndrome it would be this: Look past the extra chromosome and see my child for who she is. A wonderful child who can be a wonderful friend.

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Ellen said...

Beautiful words.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

laurahlj said...

Thank you for sharing!!

Becca said...

I love this! Just beautiful.

Mom24 said...

Beautiful! You said it perfectly. Well done.

Not a Perfect Mom said...

that note made me cry...
great article..perfectly said

Michelle said...

Kuddos to you, Michelle!!!!! On the great writing and getting in the magazine!!!!

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful piece you wrote about Kayla.. it says it all... :) love mom

Astra Kruger said...

Beautifully written! Thank you!

EN said...

What a cool article! Your reflections about Kayla make the perfect addition to it. I especially like the part about not wanting pity. No one wants to be pitied.

Roo's Mom said...

Lovely! Nice job. Kayla makes a wonderful ambassador.

Anonymous said...

Well said!

"she has the same range of emotions." This sentence needs to be repeated. Emotions are so often assumed to be part of the difference.