Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 for 21: Blogging for Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  October 1st marks day one for bringing awareness to those around us about what it means to be a part of the Down syndrome community.  I have tried to make it a priority over the past few years to use this month to blog everyday in hopes of educating others about Down syndrome and what it's like to have a daughter with Down syndrome. 

Ever since Sophia was born, I've wanted the absolute best for her.  She was brought into this world with a label written all over her face.  She carries around stereotypes that society has placed on her and her friends that also sport an extra chromosome.  I want people to look at my daughter and see a little girl first.  I don't want them to look at her and see the words Down syndrome written all over her face.  And I think the first step in getting people to realize that Sophia, and all individuals with Down syndrome, are their own person first, and a diagnosis second, is to get to know these individuals as people.  Show my daughter respect, in both your words and your actions.  Talk to her, like you would any other four year old little girl.  Look her in the eyes and really get to know the beauty that lies behind those baby blues. 

Before Sophia was born, I knew nothing about Down syndrome.  In fact, I knew very little about the world of special needs all together.  I was scared and nervous and unsure about what to say when I was around people with special needs.  I distanced myself a lot of times and walked the other way to avoid certain people.  Not because I thought I was any better of a person, but because I just didn't know how to approach certain situations.  I don't want that for my daughter.  I don't want people to walk away from her or avoid her because of their insecurities.  I want people to understand that their acceptance of my daughter into this world that can be very judgmental, would mean the absolute world to me and to Sophia.  All I ask is that you show my daughter the same respect that you would expect from any other human being, and know that there is so much more to Sophia than a diagnosis.     

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