Inclusion; It All Starts With a Hello

As parents of kids who are differently abled, we all strive for one common goal; inclusion and acceptance of our children. You would think it would be easy for kids to make friends with other kids or for people to accept others without questions or hesitations. However, that’s not always the case. But reaching out and educating others is something we can all do in order to help make a change. Kate Manduca, an Ambassador and contributing writer for Save Down Syndrome, did just that. She recently sent a letter to her local newspaper, Chronicle Journal Thunder Bay, about inclusion and acceptance regarding individuals who have Down syndrome. With her permission, I have copied her letter below.

Please feel free to use her example and send a letter to your local newspaper as well. The more we educate, the better we make our world for everyone. - Lindsay Robertson

Teach Children Acceptance and Inclusion, we all have so much to learn from each other!

Down Syndrome is not a sickness or defect, Down Syndrome happens in the early stages of pregnancy when the baby receives and extra copy of the 21st chromosome. With that extra chromosome some other health considerations can also occur, such as, congenital heart defects, auto immune disorders, hearing and vision issues, as well as, physical and cognitive delays. 

What you may not know is that little something extra brings an incredible amount of joy, happiness and pride to the people and families who know and love them. 

We are living in a era where babies born with Down Syndrome have an incredible amount of access to early intervention services and therapies too help them meet their childhood milestones. They have families who adore them and see their worth and value. They have ability to learn in inclusive classrooms where typically developing children and children with developmental disabilities learn from each other; diversity, kindness and friendship benefits everyone. They can go to college, work, contribute to society, self advocate, live independently and have meaningful relationships. When we hold high expectations and challenge people there are no limits to what they can achieve. 

This is my daughter Hope (pictured) she is one of the sweetest most joyful people I have ever met. She has beautiful almond shaped eyes, a tiny nose, and a loving heart. She has Down Syndrome. She loves music and dancing, she adores her family and smiles at everyone she meets. Hope is charming, incredibly smart, funny, strong, and determined. She has taught us so much in the last 26 months, especially about being kind to those who you think may be a little different than you, if you don’t open your heart up to others you can miss out on so many wonderful opportunities.

So if you see her or someone like her out in public smile and say “hi!”. Teach your children about inclusion and acceptance, because truly, we are all more alike than different and difference is beautiful.

- Kate Manduca

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