World Down Syndrome Day – a day of inclusion

“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. “

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Fun in our backyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Girl Scouts – Christmas Parade
At the movies with her friends Samantha and Michael
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Adriana with her friend Michael at Prom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

  • A loving home
  • The same rights as any US citizen, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
  • Freedom of thought
  • Free will
  • Right to love and be loved
  • Right to a healthy life
  • Right to education
  • Right to be seen in the community
  • Right to participate in life

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.

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Sister time

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.

lots of socks WDSD

For more information on activities regarding World Down Syndrome Day please visit the following sites:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luz Adriana

My name is Luz Adriana Martinez and for the past 27 years I have been working in the field of advocacy for children with disabilities. I hold an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BA from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. I'm married to a great guy, Tito, an Army Veteran of 22 years, who supports all the crazy things I do. Being an Army wife also prepared us to be always on the move and without daddy for long periods of time. This also gave me the opportunity work and volunteer with organizations whose mission was to assist other military families. This blog results from my desire to give back to the many families that have given me and mine so much. I have had the fortune to be able to travel the world assisting military families and now that that stage of my life is over, I want to continue to share what I have learned in the hopes that I can still provide some information and resources to families who need it.

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