Contributing author to Gifts : Chapter 8

GIFTS - how to order

Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

The Gifts Outreach program provides complimentary copies of Gifts to organizations which serve parents facing a new diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child, either prenatally or postnatally. We believe that the stories in the book provide a vital companionship and support for such parents.

2008 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA): Gold Award

2008 Mom's Choice Awards: Silver Recipient, Special & Exceptional Needs

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

So you have a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome...

and are considering termination. You ask yourself, what kind of life would my child with Down syndrome have? What burdens would he or she place on our family? Oh, he/she will suffer so termination is best for him/her.

Before you make that decision, spend some time really researching, meeting other parents of children with Down syndrome, and read THIS BOOK. and if you have a prenatal diagnosis and want a free copy of GIFTS, just email me.

If you need a quick fix, READ THIS.

Usually the decision to terminate has to do with your fears, and your inability to see potential in your unborn child with Down syndrome that is the factor in your hesitation to give birth to your child.

Thanks Dave for the lesson.........

Well Look At That

Everybody noticed.

Everybody stared.

Eventually even me.

We stopped at Petro-Can to fill up the car and had to wait until a lane cleared by the pump so we could pull in. We'd passed several other stations without line ups, but here we sat. Joe collects Petro-Points and refuses to gas anywhere else. It's one of his, um, quirks. I didn't notice anything at first, then I saw a young guy about twenty staring intently at something. I put my eyes on his gaze and slid along to see the object of his attention. "Oh, stop," I thought to myself. He was staring at a man, about the same age as he was, with Down Syndrome who was pumping gas into a car.

"Surely," I thought, "people are used to seeing the disabled amongst us being out and in the community doing every day things."

Then I noticed that everyone else was staring too. Really looking at this guy. This was more than "Wow look at the disabled guy pump gas." This was something else.

So I took in the whole scene. He was pumping gas into a car. The car was empty. Forgive me for what I thought, but I thought that his mom or dad was probably in the service center going to the washroom. He finished pumping gas, went in to the little kiosk and paid.

Now, I understood what people were looking at. staring at, seeing. He got into the car, on the driver's side.

Started the engine.

Drove off.

Even I reeled at that. I had heard of people with Down Syndrome driving, but I'd never seen it before. My automatic assumption was that he was a passenger. That because he had Down Syndrome he'd never ever be in the driver's seat.

They weren't staring at him. Those people at the gas station. I think that something different was going on. They were re-evaluating eveything they ever thought about someone with Down Syndrome. They were ripping apart pre-conceived notions. They were having prejudice challenged.

Admittedly, so was I.


Just when I thought that I had it all together, some guy with Down Sydrome drives me off the road. Makes me realize how deep my own prejudices run.

I wonder, though, about the effect he will have. On me, it was immediate. I reached inside myself and raised the bar - set expectations higher - not for them - for me.

But I wonder if that twenty something guy who's stare I'd noticed. Should he ever get the news that his wife is carrying a baby with Down Syndrome, will he remember the guy with the car, pumping gas. The guy who drove off. The guy who is living a life, unpredicted. The guy doing things, unexpected. The guy who dreams, unencumbered.

I truly hope so.


Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

What a great story...and I have my copy of Gifts and love reading it.

I have to links to articles on inclusion on my blog...made me very happy to find them

Tammy and Parker said...

Jan, Parker's chosen you and Nash! Go over to our blog and get the details!

LeeJo said...

I hope so too!

Shelley said...

Oh thanks for posting that - a great post!