12 January 2014

Friends? No Friends?

First off, I would like to thank those who have shared the blog with others. I am so fortunate that you want to take part in our journey and that you want to educate yourselves and let other families know that it is possible. It can be done. Keep sharing the blog. Post it on Facebook, email the link to friends and family, Tweet it out..... :)

I wanted to touch on one of my most recent concerns. I have mentioned this before but when I see it posted on another blog or on one of the sites on Facebook that I am a part of, it starts to bother me again.
One mom posted that her little girl never gets invite to birthday parties and that sometimes she is the only one left out. All of the other girls in the class, all of them, are invited, but not her daughter. Other moms then posted their own personal experiences and they were similar.
It made me cry.

My new haircut :)

It made me think about Adele's future. I had the goal this year to take it one day at a time, but it's so hard and I'm already failing. I constantly think about her future and what it holds. I think about if she will have friends. I think that this is one of my biggest concerns.
Some of the moms said that their child didn't realize that they weren't invited, but I don't know if I believe that....I think we need to give our children a little more credit.

When my sister and I were younger, we were encouraged to be kind to others, didn't matter the race, colour, economic status, it didn't matter. What it boiled down to, was, were they good people? Did they make you a better person? Did they encourage you to take part in healthy activities?

Music Therapy - LOVES the piano!

I remember when I was probably around 15 or 16 and I went out with two girlfriends. They both took acid, as I watched. It wasn't a fun experience for any of us. It sucked actually.
After hanging out at the local Dairy Queen, we headed back to my house. One of the girls had a very unhealthy relationship with her mom. She was coming to pick up her daughter and we soon realized that she was drunk. I went downstairs trying to figure out a way to explain to my dad that the girls were high and the mom was drunk. I wanted to throw up because I knew that my dad would be so disappointed in me. I told him exactly what was going on and he came upstairs, didn't lecture the girls or the mom, but made sure that everybody was going to get home safely and that the daughter wasn't in danger.
I didn't get in trouble. All my dad had to do was look at me and I knew that he was proud of me for not doing drugs and for going to him when things got a bit rough. The look of, you know you shouldn't be hanging around them. You know you need to make better choices. You know that if I ever catch you doing drugs, you will never see the outside of this house.

Everyone was always welcomed into our house. My point is that when I was younger, I didn't really even think to be friends with somebody who had Down syndrome. I didn't think to be friends with somebody who was in the ES1 class. They were segregated and isolated from us. The students would maybe join us for music class and gym class but that was it. I remember helping one girl, she had Down syndrome. I was her partner in music class. We would go together and I would teach her how to play the instruments. She would sometimes stop by my other classes to see if I could come out and take her to music. It was pretty sweet. Nobody ever made fun of me and to be honest, I didn't care. I liked her.
I liked her but I would have never invited her to one of my birthday parties. Not because I didn't want to or because I would be embarrassed, it was because I just never thought of it. It never even crossed my mind. Thinking back today, I should have invited her to one of my parties. I should have included her as I bet it would have made her day.

Since having Adele, I see things in a whole new light. I also understand that she will be in a mainstream classroom and she will have an aide. I get that it is more inclusive now. This makes me happy. What parents need to realize is that little ones with Down syndrome get it. They understand what is going on. They have mild to moderate learning difficulties, not severe. They have the same interests as your children. They like Barbies and toys and playing with friends. They like joking around. They like sleepovers. They like to be included.
I want Adele to have friends. I want Adele to wake up every morning and smile because she has friends. I want her to feel loved by others. I want parents to talk to her when they see her at school. I want parents to encourage their children to talk to Adele. I want her to feel loved and appreciated. I don't want to have to explain to her time and time again why she wasn't invited to a party. I know that sometimes parents can feel uncomfortable and maybe don't know what to say. It may be difficult to understand Adele. Who knows how her speech will be. Who knows where she is on the spectrum. It doesn't matter. She has feelings. Children with Down syndrome aren't always happy. Children with Down syndrome have bad days too. They are still children. They are regular children.

Just about there....come on Adele!

When you talk about Adele with your children, you need to explain what Down syndrome is all about. If you are unclear, ask me. I would love to explain to you and your children all about Down syndrome. I love being asked questions. What I don't like is if you stare. If you whisper. Just ask me and I will gladly explain.

It all begins at home. It all begins with the parents. You, as a mom and dad need to teach your children about inclusion and respect and caring for others.
If we didn't have Adele, I don't know if I would have chatted with my children about Down syndrome and how everybody is special and unique. This is why I am writing this blog. I see things differently. I want Adele to be included. I don't want sympathy, that is not needed. I want her to be loved. I want her to be respected. I want her to be happy. I want her to have the best possible life. I want Adele to have a beautiful life. <3

A little contest....I want to get to 100 000 views by April. I am at 76 700 right now. If you share my blog, tag me in the post and you will be entered in a draw for a great prize!! A really great prize. If you are sharing again today, you will have another chance to win! I will mail it to anywhere in the world. My goal...get the word out. Bring reassurance to families. Bring comfort and joy to those who are struggling. Lots of shares so far! If we are not friends on Facebook, send me an email after you have shared, at krowland23@hotmail.com or comment below. <3

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