You may have read by now that today is World Down Syndrome Day. Despite my best efforts, the best way to share the story of what today means is to share the message of one of our parents, Stephanie Garner. With her permission, that post is copied below. Lily is in second grade at Van Buren Elementary, and she is loved by everyone she meets.
Today Lily’s entire school is celebrating World Down Syndrome Day! In fact 3 of the 4 elementary schools in Plainfield will be celebrating thanks to some awesome advocacy by other mamas. Each kiddo in Lily’s class will be getting a goodie bag that includes a tattoo, a sticker, and a brochure about WDSD featuring Lily.
Above: Lily's family provided t-shirts and goodie bags to her classmates, helping them understand the diagnosis of Down Syndrome
We choose to educate Lily’s classmates about Down syndrome intentionally. Kids notice that Lily is a little different. We can either provide them with the correct explanation for why or they will make it up on their own. We choose to embrace Lily’s Down syndrome diagnosis because acceptance and inclusion begin at home. If we don’t accept her diagnosis, how can we expect others to do so?!?
Down syndrome is a part of Lily. It affects many aspects of her daily life. But that is all that it is, a tiny part of the amazing person that is Lily Garner. When we help her classmates see this too, we are setting them up to advocate for an inclusive future. Because you see, the children in her class are our next generation of doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, business owners, co-workers, etc. These are the people who will help ensure that Lily’s adulthood is as fabulous as her childhood.
Above: Some of Lily's classmates, proudly standing with their friend
If you need help figuring out how to educate your child’s class, talk to Down Syndrome Indiana! We can help you with materials (as long as supplies last;), ideas for books to read, customized brochures with your kiddos picture, and we can even do an awareness presentation for you (virtually or in person).
Above: Some of Lily's friends sported their best crazy socks today as part of the #LotsOfSocks event
Several classes throughout Plainfield are wearing crazy, mixed-up socks today. The #LotsOfSocks campaign is a fun way to broach conversations about what it means to have Down Syndrome and the importance of supporting and including our friends with the diagnosis. We're already hearing from parents who are learning from their students, and we think that is just about the highest praise possible!
Above: Clarks Creek kindergarten students surround their friend with their own crazy socks as they observe World Down Syndrome Day and the #LotsOfSocks conversation