“WDSD is observed on 21 March every year. On this day, people with Down syndrome and those who live and work with them throughout the world organize and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome. “
As a parent of a young adult with Down syndrome, we as a family have always been very vocal and visible about including our daughter in every single activity and decision our family makes. When our daughter was born we had two pediatricians, the first one told us to give her up and put her in an institution because she would never amount to much. The second pediatrician told me, the way you treat her will be the way other people treat her. You can either put her away in a closet or she can be the most precious thing in your life. We chose to stay with the second doctor and his advice.
Throughout our journey we have had challenges and rewards, allies and naysayers, but we have held steady that our daughter should have the same opportunities as any other child as long as it didn’t take away another child’s opportunity or it was dangerous.
Adriana has participated in any number of activities just as any other kid her age. We did ballet lessons, Girl Scouts, Church activities, choir, band, school trips and competitions, special ed and general ed classes. We go out shopping and her friends from school say hi and talk to her. Her younger sister’s friends are also her friend’s and treat her like the young adult she is. She works and has friends at work. She has friends in the community and enjoys going out with them to the movies, bowling, restaurants and shopping.
In our adventures, we have worked hard to provide the following for all our children:
Like my husband says: “we have provided these things since day one and will continue to do so.” And in trying to provide those to her, I have learned about the laws (her rights), I have learned about education, medicine, her rights as a patient, her rights as a citizen. We have been fortunate to find friends that have taken our child into their hearts. She loves these ladies so much she calls them Mama Karen, Mama Lisa and Mama Liz., not to mention Ms Helen and our dear friend Janice.
I have had the opportunity to travel in the US and abroad to provide workshops for parents of individuals with disabilities. My daughter has traveled with me and my co-workers and worked as a volunteer during these trips. It has been heartwarming to watch her talk to parents and professionals and hear her share her stories of being in school, having friends, and going to watch her sister play in the marching band, going to football games, and having a job. I have appreciated the parents coming to me and saying thank you for bringing her to the workshop, thanking me for showing what the future could be for their child and for living what I teach. That last comment always hits me, since as a parent I always have doubts that I am doing what I set out to do.
Adriana is the one who chose me to be her advocate when she was born. I have loved every minute she has allowed me to be here for her.
For more information on activities regarding World Down Syndrome Day please visit the following sites: