Today is World Down Syndrome Day – our very first since finding out that Leilani has DS. It’s also my dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!!!) And I’m super duper pregnant and ready to be done. It would be such an awesome day to have a baby, right? If only this baby would come out! Anyway, back to WDSD.
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day that takes place on March 21st every year, which signifies the triplication of the 21st chromosome, unique to persons with Down Syndrome. Today is the day to raise awareness as to what it means to have Down Syndrome and how people play a vital role in our lives and communities. You can be an advocate whether you know someone with Down Syndrome or not. When children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities are given opportunities to participate, all children benefit, create acceptance, amazing friendships and respect for everyone.
Today, what I ask of you is that you learn more about what Down Syndrome is. Know that there are many different levels of Down Syndrome and not all persons with Down Syndrome are the same, just like you and I aren’t the same. You can learn more in my previous post or visit the National Down Syndrome Society website. You can also read more about Leilani’s unique story. And if you’re a parent, please please please, I beg you to do a few things. Teach your kids acceptance and respect for others. That yes, some kids may look ‘different’ but that they are still people. Just like I would ask you to teach your kids to accept all races and skin colors, etc. I would ask the same about disabilities. ALL disabilities, physical AND mental. Do not categorize people, especially children. Kids don’t learn to be mean to others until they hear it from someone else. We need to be better about this. It has to start somewhere and you have an amazing opportunity to teach love and compassion and as a parent, I feel that is part of our responsibility.
Today I will celebrate Leilani for the person she is and will become someday. And if you’ve met her, you know she is one spunky adorable little girl that lights up a room with her smile and her laughter. I will also celebrate the people in our lives that have accepted her and are teaching their children and families the love and compassion and acceptance of others. Those people are true advocates for Leilani just as much as we try to be! Thank you 🙂 and Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Spread the word!