Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To Answer Your Question

Recently, I posted about Down Syndrome Awareness Month with the challenge of getting to know a child with Down syndrome other than your child. The question of the experiences that we have with other children with Ds was also asked. Recently, I was asked about my experiences so I will share in this post.

My experiences with children with Down syndrome have not been personal and I must say that before John came into our life, children with Down syndrome, or other disabilities for that matter, were not very visible to me. Yes, I have worked with many children with disabilities in my career as a Physical Therapist Asst. but outside of the clinic, I didn't seek them out or take the time to get to know them which I am learning now were missed opportunities on my part.

In this setting though I have learned many things about human beings and how we all deal with our disabilities whether it be Ds or something else and that is the human spirit is alive and well in all of us. I have seen how people are able to rise up and meet the challenges that are set before them if they are just given the opportunities. While time lines to meet these challenges are not the same for everyone, I still love seeing people rise above the limits that are often set for them.

On a personal note, I remember seeing a girl with Down syndrome who was with a group of nursing students at the hospital. It was about a month before John was born and I was still working at the hospital. Every so often the hospital hosts a group of nursing students for one of the work rotations. There was a group of them doing the initial orientation and I politely said hello as I walked by. But as I walked by, I couldn't help notice a girl with Down syndrome in the group. She was a very attractive girl and seemed to get along well with the other girls.

I look back at the time as being the time that I came to understand that these children have potential that often exceed what people project. And that is the mindset I think we all should have in raising our disabled child. I'm not sure of Johns potential and I'm not sure I want to know. My goal for John and I challenge yours to be is that I want to raise John to be the best little Down syndrome child that he can be.

Thank you for your readership and comments. Reading your comments, blogs and seeing the pictures of your children are a source of encouragement to me and spur me to keep writing.

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