7th Annual World Down Syndrome Day
Today, March 21, 2012 is the 7th annual WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY (WDSD). However, four years ago I was oblivious to this day and then three years ago this became a two-day event for me. My son Treyton was born with Down syndrome on March 20. At first I thought it was cool because the 20th is the first day of spring but then I realized that we fell short, by one day, of WDSD. So, now we have a two-day celebration for Down syndrome and the gift God has given us in Treyton.
My enthusiasm for Down syndrome is unique
I want to be open and honest about the difficulties that come with having a child with special needs. We have been blessed that Treyton has not had the health issues that so often accompany a Down syndrome diagnosis (I had to stop and knock on wood a second). Even still, there is a lot of “weight” that comes along with the diagnosis.
I don’t mind the weight; since day-one it has not bothered me that Treyton has Down syndrome. But that is not the case for most parents; I want to make sure that if you are reading this blog and wonder why you don’t share the same excitement as I do or maybe even feel badly because you do not – STOP. I am the weird person here. If you have a child that has been diagnosed with Down syndrome and are struggling with it, don’t add to the problem by feeling guilty.
I am sure you have had the wonderful experience of having advice thrown at you by well-intentioned individuals whom, ironically, have no experience with special needs children. Maybe you will get lucky and the advice will be good but also feel free to ignore a lot of it. Don’t let others that have never been in your shoes make you feel worse. You need to be able to talk openly and honestly to people in your same situation. My wife and I have been fortunate to have several friends nearby that also have kids with Down syndrome. If you do not have that luxury look for a local Down syndrome association to connect with. Or, contact me and I will see if I can help you make a connection. Really, I am just a normal business person but I will do what I can. So, don’t feel bad on top of feeling sad about a Down syndrome diagnosis.
World Down Syndrome Day is recognized by the United Nations
This WDSD is an important day for individuals with Down syndrome as well as other cognitive disabilities. Today marks the first commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day. This is an exciting advancement for people like Treyton. Take a look at the opening paragraphs of the address by the United Nations Secretary General:
The entire message can be read by following this link. As you will see there are several pages devoted to WDSD on the United Nation’s website, another sign that things are moving in the right direction. Below I have placed a link that will allow you to download the resolution that was adopted by the U.N. where they officially set aside March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day.
Please pass the word
Let’s keep the ball rolling and continue to make strides toward creating a world where people with Down syndrome are accepted and given the same opportunities as everyone else.