Dear family and friends,
It's almost the time of the year where we step up and join our community in uplifting and celebrating the capabilities of those that we love who have Down Syndrome. Noah is now six years old. He can identity his name. He knows colors. He sings along to his favorite songs. He has great taste in clothes and shows us every day how much more independent he can and wants to be.
This past school year, our family faced the challenges of navigating the world of “IEP’s” and public-school special education in a real way. We have been up against understanding and working with the older, more traditional education system as we set our expectations for Noah exactly where they should be. It has been a time of growth, learning how to self-advocate, and leaning on those larger resources that are offered to families with students who have special needs at times when we needed an army. It has felt like a blur, but one of learning, advocacy, and standing behind Noah’s capabilities more than ever!
On a macro-level, in this country the past year, there has been a movement of parents of children with Down Syndrome, all over the country, who are volunteering their time to reach out in their towns and their communities to provide a more hopeful voice at the hospitals and medical centers for parents who are receiving the news that their child has Down Syndrome. What a game-changer- a community charged by hope is now actively out there offering comfort, connectedness, and painting a more honest and hopeful picture of the future, in a place that has been void of these real narratives. This is HUGE! The stereotypes are slowly shifting into more positive images of capability and showing how people with Down Syndrome offer real value in society, and in their own communities.
There is so much to do before we walk this fall. We must raise awareness. We must challenge ourselves and each other to do some of the hard work to raise monies to support the programs that directly reach the community of people with Down Syndrome. We must be believers of capability for Noah and people that face similar challenges as he does. It’s time to step up!