Down Syndrome Awareness Month – Meet Eliza
October is Down Syndrome Awareness month! Of course, I wanted to write a blog shining light on this. I started thinking of what would be the best source. I could write about Down Syndrome from a therapist’s point of view, I could talk about how AMAZING the kiddos I work with are all day long but then I saw a Facebook post acknowledging Down Syndrome Awareness month from an amazing momma I know. I reached out and asked if she would be interested in helping me with this post, and what she sent me was absolutely perfect.
In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month,
I would love for everyone to….
meet my friend Eliza!
“As a mom with a child who has Down syndrome, I want people to take away the assumptions. I want people to see Eliza for Eliza, not a diagnosis. There have been times where others were shocked and surprised that she COULD DO certain things. They automatically assumed. She loves school, dance, swimming, reading, playing with her toys. She loves to cook! I want her to be treated just like every other child and to be given the same equal opportunities. Give her the chance, with her strong will and determination she just might prove you wrong!
I want people to learn and understand that having a child with Down syndrome is not a burden. Please don’t feel sorry for us. And please don’t ever tell someone of a child with Down syndrome that you’re sorry for them. There is nothing to be sorry for! Are there challenges? Of course! Aren’t there challenges with any child? We have been blessed beyond measure with Eliza in our lives. We have experienced the purest form of love. We have learned to see the world through a different lens. A clearer lens that others typically get to view. We are so lucky!
Instead of staring, or giving a weird look, try to make a conscious effort to smile, wave, say “Hello!” Honestly, that’s for any parent and child that has any disability. It’s a simple act of kindness. Eliza loves to engage in conversation, give high fives and fist bumps, and she’s the best hugger around. She has turned so many people’s bad days into good just being around them, even if it’s for a few minutes. She has a way of getting through to people. Even if it’s the grumpiest man in line at the post office. (Which she did!) She will get you smiling and having a conversation with her.
I want people to know and see that having a child with a different ability isn’t scary. There is no “normal” human being. We each have our own way of doing things, our own quirks, our own likes, and our differences. That’s what makes each of us special.
The main keyword in our home with Eliza is YET. Yes, she has developmental delays. She works so hard at reaching her goals that her team has put together for her to achieve. She knows her alphabet, but can’t write all the letters…yet. She can count (almost) to 20, and will work on higher numbers… but not yet! She is verbal, but not everything is clear…yet. She’s learning to strengthen her body to become more stable, but not yet! She has a handful of therapists that she visits weekly to help her become the best that she can be. It’s all in Eliza’s time. When she’s ready, she’ll take off.
Having Eliza in our lives has taught us to slow down our pace… a lot. Which is a great thing! We’re not always in a rush like we used to be. We’ve learned to take our time and have a lot of patience. For instance, we might stop to look at something so small and intricate because it caught her eye. Or she might hear something that’s around her, and we stop and listen for it, look for it, and then move on. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but with Eliza I do.
As a mom with a child who has Down syndrome, I want YOU to see Eliza. See that she is capable, strong, kind, fierce, and know that she loves big. When she says hello you better be prepared to say it back or she’ll keep on you until you do. She is not her diagnosis. She has an extra chromosome. It’s what makes Eliza, Eliza”
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