Twenty one years ago next month my life was forever changed. Sara came into this world and showed me that sometimes "perfect" comes in different packages. Her extra chromosome has been my compass these past years- something that I needed. She was a gift intended for me.
Today is World Down Syndrome day. A day to celebrate the value, acceptance, and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome- something we should all do every day. I have seen the difference that it has made in Sara's life to be a part of a community, accepted by her peers, and believed in by her teachers and family. When Sara was born I was told that she would never walk or talk, that she wouldn't be able to attend public school, and that the back of her head would flatten out. I didn't believe them. Instead I worked with Sara by enrolling her in E.C.I, taught her sign language, put her into 'regular' Mother's Day Out programs and by golly she did attend public school.
Sara is now a full grown woman who has a wicked sense of humor, reads and writes at a third grade level, attends school, swims and bowls for Special Olympics, hangs out with her friends, has a boyfriend, and is loved and accepted by her friends and family. Oh, and the back of her head? As round as the bowling ball she can roll down an alley. Her life so far has been a lot of strikes ;)
So as you go through your day today be mindful of how you value, accept and include others. While you are at it take the pledge to end the r word. That word is hurtful to those with special needs and needs to be eradicated from our vocabulary.
*ALL photos by the talented Brittany Rae!