Remembering World Down Syndrome Day 2012-better late than never!

I actually planned ahead for 
World Down Syndrome Day this year.  
If you know me well you might find that pretty shocking.  : )

3 weeks before WDSD I wrote Lila's teacher a note 
asking for permission to visit the classroom
 and read "My Friend Isabelle" to her students. 
 I also requested  permission to send a letter home 
to the parents of Lila's classmates.  
 I submitted the letter in advance for front office approval.  
 Another yes.  : )

It was a group (family) effort to make everything happen.  
 I was ready.  
Tulips for the teachers, 
 collage of pics to break the ice with the kids, 
the book, letters to parents
 and last but not least~ 
delicious gluten free cake pops!

I woke up the next morning feeling like I was going to throw up.  
Why was I so nervous? 
 It was just a group of 5 and 6 year old kids, right?  
How bad could it be?

When Lila and I got to school I dropped her off at her classroom
 and went back to my car to get everything I  needed.  
When I came back the teacher had everyone sitting on the floor waiting for me.   
 Did I mention that the principal, 
Special Education Rep for the school 
and a couple of therapists were also there?  
Which was awesome!  
But it didn't help my nervous stomach at all.

I started by reading the book "My Friend Isabelle".  
The book is a story of two friends, Charlie and Isabelle. 
 It explains the differences between the two friends.  
Charlie is tall, Isabelle is short.  
Charlie runs fast, Isabelle takes her time.  
Charlie knows a lot of words.  
Sometimes Isabelle's words are hard to understand.  

The book also explains the way the two friends are similar.  
They both like to dance, 
they like to play at the park. 
Isabelle has Down Syndrome.
Charlie does not. 

After I finished the book I pulled out the collage
 with pictures of Lila enjoying life.    
I asked the kids, 
"How many of you have brothers and sisters?"
After almost all of their hands shot up I said,
 "Lila has brothers and sisters too!"

 "How many of you like to get Christmas presents?  
 Lila does too!"
"How many of you like to play sports?  
 Lila does too!"
"How many of you like to carve pumpkins and get dressed up for Halloween?  
 Lila does too!"
"How many of you like to rake leaves in the fall? 
  Lila does too!"
"How many of you like to play at the park? 
Lila does too!"
"How many of you like to eat ice cream?  
 Lila does too!"
"How many of you like to read with your brother or sister? 
 Lila does too!"

After I finished asking questions about 
most of the pictures to point out the
 similarities between Lila and her classmates 
I tried to move on.   
The kids started pointing out that I 
had missed some pictures.   
I looked at their teacher for guidance because 
we hadn't discussed how much time 
I was allowed.  
She told me to take all the time I needed.  

After the kids were satisfied that we had discussed 
every single picture 
 I talked about the fact that even though they all had 
some similar interests they had differences as well.  
Some of them had brown hair, some of them had green eyes, some of them were tall. 
 I got them started and they took it from there, 
 describing things about themselves that were different 
from the other kids.   

I let them talk for a little while, then I mentioned 
some of Lila's differences. 
How sometimes her work is a little different than theirs. 
How sometimes she is hard to understand.  
I had no idea how this part would go.  
I wasn't expecting what came next.  
Hands started shooting up.  
They wanted to tell me what they liked about Lila.  
It turned into a mini Lila support rally. 

"I love playing with Lila at recess"
"Lila has the best manners"
"Lila has beautiful hair"
"Lila tries really hard"
"Lila is so nice"
"Lila's my best friend"
"Lila shares with me"
"I love to help Lila"
"I'm glad Lila came to our school"

Tears welled up in my eyes.   
I thanked them for being such good listeners
and said goodbye.

The principal left the class before me but 
waited in the hall to introduce himself.  
He thanked me for taking the time to do the presentation 
and told me that he was thrilled to have Lila at their school. 
I thanked him for allowing me to come.

One of the best parts for me was that 
Lila sat with the other kids 
the entire time without assistance.  
And when my presentation was interrupted by
 announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance,
 she stood with her (left) hand over her (not) heart and
 recited the Pledge with the rest of the kids.  
Oh, this mama was proud.

Another nice touch was the wrapper on the tulips,
 complete with a Holland reference.

It was good. 
 Much better than I expected.  
When I got to my car I sat and cried happy tears.
And thanked God for Lila's placement.

The rest of the day wasn't too bad either. 
  Lexi chose this day to stand up in her crib 
for the very first time.  

After trying very hard to get a picture of both girls 
looking at the camera in their 
World Down Syndrome Day t-shirts, 
I decided that peace of mind was 
much more important than a picture. 
 I'm pretty sure the girls agreed.
I can just imagine what they are thinking here.

I was still able to get a couple of cute ones.

I am thankful that we have a reason to celebrate 
World Down Syndrome Day. 
 I am also thankful that I worked up the courage 
to spread the word that 
Down Syndrome is indeed 
something to celebrate.  
We have two girls that are living proof.


  1. Wow, I love all of this but especially the fact that you went to a classroom and shared with your daughters classmates. I thought that their comments were especially touching!!!

  2. Such an amazing story...your children are beautiful!

  3. Tears, oh my goodness, tears. So much effort and work, such an amazing reception, and such beautiful, lovable girls. You and them!! I love you, Linda, and you do such a wonderful job of loving your girls and helping others love and accept them.

    I celebrate you and them and Down Syndrome.

  4. Beautiful post, Linda!!! I love all the comments the kiddos said about Lila!! It is so wonderful what you did to honor and celebrate Down syndrome!!! :)