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World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day Logo

Much like the White Rabbit, I’m late; I’m late; I’m late. I suppose somewhere on this earth near the International Date Line, it is still National Down Syndrome Day. I am writing this for people hoping they come to understand and accept with kindness not cruelty. Look to within the heart not hurtful R words.

My grandson has special needs. Don’t we all. Each one of us is different. We must all appreciate the beauty and strength in others not the weakness. Let’s face it. Every one of us is flawed. It is time as the old adage goes, “Not to judge the book by its cover.”

Sure, Pooh looks different in some ways. Yet looking at his christening pictures next to his brother’s, I am never quite sure who is who. What I am sure of though is that he is a happy, loving, giving child. His innocence shines through.

I thank the many people who have helped him along, his parents, his brother, his aunts and uncles, his teachers, his friends. They appreciate him for who he is. He has had to be taught as did you and I once upon a time. Development milestones may have been delayed, but he is getting there one step at a time.

I remember the day he was born. I was outside the birthing room when I heard his first cries as only dads were allowed in. Soon the doctors came out to speak with me. After assuring me mother and baby were doing fine, they told me of their Down Syndrome diagnosis. Of course I had questions.

“Can I hold him?”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to hurt him.”

“You won’t.”

And that is what truly mattered then as much as it does now. In the days, weeks, months, and years that followed I learned all I could. I became his advocate. The one thing I didn’t have to learn though is how to love him.

If there is anything people should learn is: #1 handicapped, special needs, or whatever else the term of the moment is now or once was, is not catching. It is not a disease. It is a genetic quirk ; #2 handicapped people have feelings too. So do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

God blessed me with a grandson. He tries his best. I rejoice in him for what he is not what anyone wanted him to be.

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