Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and to help educate our tiny town about DS (and our son!), we put together a bulletin board for our local library. One definite advantage to living in a small town: Mr. T. is a local celebrity (he is the only person with DS in our town - there has been no other for 10 years)!
Here is the display:

The main sign says, "Meet Trevor! He was born in Petersburg and diagnosed with Down syndrome 4 days after he was born. He loves to play with trucks, dance, and be chased by his little brother. Since he is still learning to use words to communicate, he uses sign language to help him "talk." He enjoys reading books with his daddy and cooking (making a mess) with his mommy. Trevor is great at walking, swimming, singing, and especially making friends."

This sign says, "Thumbs up for Dr. Down! In 1866 Dr. John Down was the first person to identify what we now call Down (or Down's) syndrome.

This sign says, "What is Down Syndrome? It is a genetic condition that some people are born with. In most ways people with Down syndrome are just like you and me. However, they will often do things like walking, talking and reading later than typical children. Usually they need extra help learning to do those things. When they grow up, people with Down syndrome may have a job and live on their own. Just like you and me, they all need friends, fun, and a meaningful life.

Here we featured a Signing Time DVD (our library ordered the whole series!).

One other sign we posted said: "How do we talk about a people with Down syndrome? It is not pronounced “Downs” but rather “Down syndrome.”Sometimes it is referred to as “Down’s syndrome” in honor of Dr. John Down. In the same way we would not say a person who has high blood pressure is a "high blood pressure person,” you would not say “the Down syndrome person” or “the Down's baby”. Down syndrome is only a medical diagnosis for that person, not who the person is. The proper way to discuss a person with Down syndrome is “the person with Down syndrome”. Additionally, it is most respectful to speak about children who are not affected by Down syndrome or other disabilities as "typical" rather than "normal."

The books we featured are all available for checkout from our library: We'll Paint the Octoput Red, What's It Like? Down Syndome, The Best Worst Brother, and Don't Call Me Special.


Anonymous said...

Jessica - you have done a wonderful job. You have obviously done a terrific job advocating for Trevor and your family in you "Tiny Town". You should feel quite proud. I hope this allows many townsfolk to understand you all a bit more, and maybe even spread to other "towns".

God Bless you!

The Coe Family in Shoreline, WA

Bella's Mum and Papa said...

Jess- this is fabulous! Thankfully you had lots of experience with bulletin boards in your former life. :)
I would love to see this in more towns- schools or libraries.

Andy Culbertson said...

What a good idea! And thanks for posting the text of the posters. I feel more educated now. :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Tell Trevor he has a friend named Parker in Texas! Parker is almost 2 years old with DS and would someday love to see Alaska.