First of all Happy Halloween! Bryan and I are doing fall centers in Dex’s class today and then we are doing a block party with our community group tonight- so we have a packed day of Halloween fun!
Before Down syndrome awareness month is over, and I am definitely sad to see it go- I wanted to share some insights and tips I have gained along the way. Although I have only been on this journey for 6 years, these are things I have learned, as well as things other mommas have shared with me as I was prepping content for this month.
Without further ado- here are 10 ways to love those in your life with Down syndrome, and their families, and if you have anything to add to this list- I would love to hear them!
1- Practice person first language. I know this is a sticky one- often times people honestly don’t know what to say or how to say it. I am saying this just to inform and raise awareness. If you have ever used the terms Downs kids, downs baby, or downsies, just try to remember that my boys are people first, not down syndrome. They are awesome, amazing, precious boys with Down syndrome. :)
2- Include us in plans, even if we can’t make it. Yes, our boys have a lot going on with therapies, doctor visits, and we are pretty routined people. Yes, we oftentimes stay at home just because it is easier, and our kids do love their bedtimes, but it still means so much to us to be included. I may tear up when we get birthday party invites for our boys, or when people just invite us to dinner. And it is especially awesome when friends offer to come here to hang out so that our boys can continue their schedules while getting to hang out with our friends. Everyone wants to be included, and families with kiddos with extra needs are no different.
3- If I don’t text you back the same day- don’t worry- I will soon. I feel like my brain goes in 45 different directions each minute, and I always read a message or text and then forget to respond to it for hours or days.
4- Fight alongside us to shout their worth and include them in society. I have heard so often throughout our school struggles with Dex, that people had no idea what school was like for kids with Down syndrome. We can all work together to change how our school system and society view and work with our kids. We are so thankful to have a tribe who is fighting with us, praying for us and encouraging as we continue to fight for what is best for our boys.
5- This one goes without saying- people with Down syndrome are not always happy. Anyone who knows my boys, knows that they have the range of emotions- just like everyone else.
6- Don’t limit the dreams of people with Down syndrome- even unintentionally. Dex and Gus can be anything they want to be. If they want to go to college, own a business, or do anything else, we will do whatever we have to do to help them reach those dreams.
7- Don’t use the r-word. Ever. For any reason. It is not ok.
8- Ask us questions. We love any opportunity to talk about our boys, just like any parent does. We would rather you ask us questions, than make assumptions, or stay in the dark. We are super open, and love sharing our lives and our boys awesomeness!
9- Celebrate the seemingly small victories with us- they are huge to us. Every milestone, every win at school- they all come with so much hard work by our boys. We LOVE to celebrate in our home, and thankfully with our kids, we get to celebrate a lot!
10- Talk to our kids- not about them in front of them. Dex understands nearly everything that is said around him, and can sense tone, etc. Ask Dex the questions, if he needs help answering, we are more than happy to help him. We are super careful about talking negatively about our kids in general, but especially in front of them. We don’t want to ever think that they can’t understand what is being said, and say something that would hurt them or make them feel negatively about themselves.
Thank you for taking time to read, learn how to love us and our boys well.
And come back Friday for an amazing giveaway to close out my Down syndrome awareness month posts!!!