Down syndrome from a father's perspective.

A blog about Down syndrome from a father’s perspective, 1 year later.

I started this blog about Down syndrome about one year ago. The official date on my first post is January 25, 20012 but that was not so much a post as it was a statement about my intentions. After that there were a few more incidental posts that were kind of experiments, like sticking your toy in the water to feel the temperature. One of those test posts included a funny video of Treyton helping me prime the walls in the new bathroom I was building; the post is called Treyton helps paint. For the official record I am considering February 15, 2012 as the start to Treyton’s Posse, a blog with a father’s perspective on Down syndrome.

Hindsight

The last year was certainly memorable! Treyton turned 3 and graduated from the early on program to the early childhood special education program. He spent 5 days in the hospital with pneumonia; it was there they discovered he had an airway obstruction so later he went back for a sleep study. Later in the summer he had to have an MRI done on his neck to check for atlantoaxial instability and then had his tonsils and adenoids removed. In December we had the treadmill accident which required a skin graft on his hand.

Other events include our youngest daughter, Lindyn, moving up to second grade and starting soccer. Taylor made it to the zone championship for swimming again while our oldest daughter, Bailey, turned 15 and earned her learner’s permit. We had to put our family dog to sleep and mourn that loss. Later, we welcomed Beckett into our family and went through the training process a puppy requires. I am sure I am missing some key events but you get the picture, it was a busy year.

The last 12 months were also full of learning about blogging. I learned a lot on the technical side of blogging as well as the social side. I have worked to tell my story as well as Treyton’s story as I see it. I have tried to tell our story in a way that others are drawn into it and can see that Down syndrome may create some challenges but it is certainly not a tragedy. I have tried to connect with other dads, as well as moms, that have kids with Down syndrome in order to encourage them, learn from them, and join forces to help knock down the walls that may keep kids like Treyton from reaching their potential. In fact, I had the opportunity to write a guest post on Gillian Marchenko’s blog about my perspective of having a son with Down syndrome.

Highlight reel

I have written posts that seemed to flow from my pen as well as others that seemed to put up more of a struggle. I now carry a small notebook with me to jot down new ideas; there has been more than one occasion where I was left frustrated because I am left with the feeling that I had something I was excited to write about but can’t remember what it was. The practice of keeping that notebook also helps me to remember the little blessings as well as challenges of daily life when Down syndrome is involved. This entire process has been therapeutic for me which is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog.

Thanks to Google Analytics as well as some of the tools available from WordPress, I am able to track a lot of different statistics about the site. For example, the most viewed post from the first year of TreytonsPosse.com is Why does my child have Down syndrome? The post is my attempt to explain how I account for my son’s disability in light of my belief in a sovereign God. The second most read post on Treyton’s Posse was called Down With Pneumonia and detailed the week we spent in the hospital because Trey had pneumonia. That was a long week!

Another post worth mentioning was called Down syndrome and inclusive education from a high school student’s perspective and was written by my oldest daughter Bailey. If you talk to any parent that has a child with a disability as well as children without you will find that a major concern for parents like me is how a disability affects your other kids. I am thankful that Bailey as well as my other girls is doing well. They love their little brother and go from thinking he is the cutest thing in the world one minute to thinking he is the most annoying thing in the world the next minute. It is good to know that Treyton is fulfilling his responsibilities as a little brother!

The last post I would like to mention is the one that I would call the “unsung hero” post. This post did not really get a lot of circulation or feedback but I think it was one of my top posts. The post is called Down syndrome dad turning forty and is a personal reflection on that milestone in my life. I like this post because it allowed me to reflect on some of the formative events in my life. It was a trip down memory lane for me and a chance for readers to get a better idea of what makes me tick.

Down syndrome and social media

With my background in marketing I have learned the importance of multi-channel approaches. It is important to go to the consumer (you) and not expect the consumer to go out of his/her way to find your message. By combining that desire with the popularity of easy to use social media tools I created a social network that makes it easy for you to stay up-to-date with Treyton’s Posse as well as to help promote it. Each medium has its strengths and weaknesses and each person has a personal preference as well. Take a look at how I use each medium and maybe you will find something you have been missing. Links to these various forms of social media are included in this next paragraph but most of them are also in the top right hand corner of the webpage as well.

    • Twitter: Short updates about life or maybe a quote from a book I am reading. I will retweet messages from other bloggers as well as organizations that support people with Down syndrome or other disabilities. Tweets are also sent when there is a new blog post or new image on Instagram. Follow @TreytonsPosse on Twitter.
    • Facebook: The Treyton’s Posse Facebook page contains updates and posts that are too long for Twitter but are not complete enough to warrant a blog post. It also collects Treyton’s Posse’s original tweets, the latest images from Instagram, and will let you know when new videos are uploaded to You Tube. Take a second and Like Treyton’s Posse on Facebook.
    • Flickr: If you want to see hundreds of pictures of the cutest kid in the world you need to find TreytonsPosse.com on Flickr. This is where I upload all of the pictures I take of Treyton.
    • YouTube: Treyton is a hoot! YouTube is the place to watch the legend in action. You will find original video clips of Treyton as well as a couple of play lists with other videos that I think have an important message or if you check out the list called “Treyton’s Picks” you will find some videos the two of us enjoy watching together.
    • Instagram: Here you will find quick glimpses of life with Trey. If you do not have a smart phone you can now find Instagram on the web or I have made it so that all of the images are uploaded to both Facebook and Flickr.
    • Pinterest: This is one of tools that I am still learning how to incorporate into the bigger picture. It is a very unique medium and I am slowly but surely working to create a presence for Treyton’s Posse on Pinterest. Take a look, I am open to suggestions.
    • RSS: These letters stand for “Rich Site Summary” but most people call it “Really Simple Syndication.” This makes it possible for you to have Treyton’s Posse blog posts sent to your email or your favorite reader like Google Reader, NewsGator, or FeedDemon. In the bottom right-hand corner of this page you will find a short form that allows you to sign-up for these updates.
    • Email: If you would like to contact me directly about Treyton’s Posse or advocating for people with Down syndrome click on the contact menu above or send a message to: rob@TreytonsPosse.com

If you think I am missing something with my social media strategy I would love your input.

Looking forward

As I consider the next 12 months my plan is to slowly continue to build on the humble foundation of the first year. The ultimate goal remains the same:

Treyton’s Posse seeks to break the mold the world has tried to use to group all individuals with Down syndrome. It is about creating change, opening doors, sharing the hope, and experiencing the joy.

Each and every day is such an adventure with Treyton that I am sure there will always be something new to share with you. You can be sure that I will share with you both the highs and lows as I am not the kind of person that tries to “sugar coat” reality.

Please join Treyton’s Posse as we seek to affect change. This change will begin with the small things; it is the butterfly effect. We are responsible to make conscious choices about how we talk, act, and think about people with Down syndrome or any other disability. We cannot control others, we can only hope to be a positive influence. It is the journey that counts. If we head in the right direction we will eventually get to the destination.

Rob Arnold has been married to his high school sweetheart for almost 19 years. Together they have three daughters and one son. He earned his bachelor's degree in General Business from Grand Valley State University as well as an MBA in Strategic Management from Davenport University. He enjoys reading, hunting, scuba diving, and spending time with his family.
  1. Anna

    You are an amazing writer! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

    • Rob Arnold

      Thank you for the compliment!

  2. Little Bird's Dad

    Love your blog…keep it coming!! I’m going to go check out your “turning 40″ post now.

    Peace,
    LBD

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