A world where our children, our brothers, our sisters, and our friends who have Down Syndrome are included in all aspects of life, are empowered to meet their needs and are recognized for their contributions.
By Lisa Rowland
Our son, Jamie, was inducted into the National Honor Society on April 24th. This accomplishment is a testament to his hard work throughout his schooling. He is like most other 18-year-old high school students; he likes to hang out with his friends, listen to music and watch Youtube videos. He is championed by his friends and teachers for all that he has accomplished because Jamie has Down Syndrome.
Jamie responds to his special challenges by studying diligently each day, reading books and keeping in close contact with his teachers by email. He is a wonderful young man with incredible potential. He wakes up every morning, excited for school. He loves being in school with his friends. When asked how he would describe himself, Jamie says, “smart, capable and funny.” He has grown into a tremendously capable young man since he has been given the opportunity to be with his friends at school. He does not think of himself as being different than everyone else.
Jamie’s story is one of new beginnings. He was home-schooled for many years when we lived in Florida, because the school system did not allow him to be in classes with his non-disabled peers. After moving to Connecticut, he went back to public school and has enjoyed a full academic life. The school system has given Jamie a chance to be successful alongside his friends and peers. The administration, teachers and students all believe in his potential and he has achieved so much because of them.
We celebrate Jamie’s accomplishments, big and small. Being inducted into the National Honor Society is a huge deal for anyone, especially Jamie. He has worked tirelessly to show people that he is capable of greatness. Jamie is a leader in the community and an emissary. He is here to show everyone that, given the chance, all of our children can be successful.
World Down Syndrome Day is Thursday, March 21st. People around the world will be recognizing the potential and accomplishments of people who have Down syndrome. The United Nations will hold a conference focusing on the right to work, while groups around the country will be holding other special events.
Want to be a part of the celebration? Check out the National Down Syndrome Society’s My Great Story link, find out about events around the world through Down Syndrome International’s website, or join us here in Connecticut at the fabulous World Down Syndrome Day event hosted by 21 Strong at the New Canaan YMCA on Saturday, March 24th.
Or raise awareness on your own Thursday — you’ll find facts and figures here Let’s tell the world how bright the future can be.