“Dance Like No One is Watching”…National Down Syndrome Awareness Week

                       “If you celebrate your differences, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it – through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.”  ~Victoria Moran, Lit From Within:  Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty

This week is National Down Syndrome Awareness here in Canada and I didn’t want it to go by without giving it some attention. And the best way I know how to do just that, is to introduce you to Krista.

Krista is a brilliant blogger out there who is raising a 2 most precious souls named Ella and Jakob. Ella was born with Down Syndrome. Ella’s mama is a strong, talented, and beautiful warrior woman with an extra special talent with the camera, and a way of putting her thoughts into words in a way that makes you forget where you are for a brief moment as you read her posts.

Her blog is called One Beautiful Life.

Krista has one post in particular that I’d like you not to miss. It’s titled “Dance Like No One Is Watching” and it’s a poignant glimpse into a mother’s heart and her simple, yet important dreams for her daughter…

“From the moment a dancer becomes a mother, they dream of the day they will slip pale pink slippers onto the feet of their daughter and watch her find herself. They imagine the journey of expression, the building of confidence and the development of poise through discipline.

But when a mother finds out that her child has Down Syndrome, when everything is unknown…” (continue reading)

Now, I have had many little people with Down Syndrome come in and out of my life. My youngest son’s best buddy, for one. They were nearly 3 yrs old and thick as thieves. They loved to play cars, finger paint, run amuck inside the house, and eat. A lot. My son saw no reason on earth to not be friends!

If I was granted one wish, just one…I’d have the world see each other as children do. As a potential playmate. As a friend. No matter what colour their skin is or what shape their eyes are, or how well they speak.

Krista writes…

“Right now, thousands of mothers and fathers around the globe are doing everything they can to ensure that their child has the best possible chance at surpassing expectations, breaking down stereotypes and fulfilling their beautiful God-given potentials.” 

continue reading…

I can’t imagine the battles that mothers of children with Down Syndrome must face everyday, breaking down stereo-types, and changing perspectives. How about we help lift  their burden? Little by little, by teaching tolerance, love, and understanding for the diversity that is the human race.

One small but very important step we’ve taken in our home, is to eliminate the “R-word.” It just isn’t allowed. In fact, I don’t even know that my smallest children have ever heard the word. I’d like to keep it that way

I have been asked the question a dozen times…

“What’s the big deal? It’s just a word!”

Well, I’ll tell you what the big deal is. Better yet, I’ll let these two tell you…

““The word retard is considered hate speech because it offends people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as the people that care for and support them. It alienates and excludes them. It also emphasizes the negative stereotypes surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the common belief that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be segregated, hidden away from society, which, in my opinion, is really old fashioned.” – Karleigh Jones, Special Olympics New Zealand athlete  

“When you say the “R” word it makes people feel bad and it hurts my feelings and I don’t want to hear you guys say it. Instead, you can call me a leader, a hero, or a human being, but please don’t call me the “R” word.” – Dony Knight, Special Olympics Oregon athlete

For more reasons to stop the R-word from popping up in your conversations, click here  to the source…

Maybe for just a little while today, we have helped lift the burdens of so many warrior parents out there who are fighting the battle every day to have their kids included. Not treated differently or special…just included.

By opening our eyes and making small changes, we bring about great progress.

We make it possible for children to dance.

Take a minute if you’ve got one, to visit Krista’s blog and browse her lovely photographs and read the tender words of a mama doing her best …oh and bring some tissue. You may need it every once in a while.

Thanks for stopping by,

~Arlee, Small Potatoes

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9 thoughts on ““Dance Like No One is Watching”…National Down Syndrome Awareness Week

  1. I found Krista and her blog through your IG tag about your indoor fall party last week (or was it the week before… My days blend together!) and I started following her blog and her IG. The photos are equally as beautiful as her words. My best girlfriend has a little boy about Ella’s age who has Mosaic Down Syndrome, and I have seen glimpses of her struggles as well. Awareness is so important for any disease or disorder… It helps make those who are affected realize that they are not so different. When awareness is achieved, we realize that there is no “normal” anymore, just beautiful people throughout the world who all have something to contribute with their lives.

  2. You weren’t kidding about the tissues!!!

    I remember when I was pregnant and they asked if I wanted to do the test for Downs. I asked the normal questions…why, risks, options if positive.
    I was APPALLED to hear that the number one choice of people who tested positive was to ABORT!!! WHAT?!! These children ARE a challenge, but they are so loving and precious!!!
    I told him NO! I didn’t want to know. If that’s what God had in store for me, so be it.
    Besides…a friend of mine tested positive and her daughter turned out to NOT have Downs. In fact, she was always either head of her class or in advanced classes.
    So, the tests can be wrong…and I didn’t need any extra stress!

  3. I definitely agree that the word retard is not a word that should be used as a slur or insult or in a negative fashion. However, I have known people who insisted on being referred to as retarded when we discussed their handicap, because they felt it was the correct terminology. The problem is not the terminology, but rather those who use the term in a way it was not meant to be used. When the term retard was introduced it was to replace the terms moron and idiot that had been used previously. However, people had begun to use those terms in a negative manner, so retard became the more acceptable term. Now that cycle is starting all over again. Many people have begun to replace “mentally retarded” with “cognitively impaired.” I wonder how long it will take before CI is turned into a nasty slur or mean name. What will we change to then?

  4. It is unfortunate that the words “mentally retarded” have taken on an insulting slur by ignorant people. The words are to convey a diagnosis. Sometimes I use the words “developmentally delayed” since Sarah is still developing and learning – but it is delayed compared to others of her age. To me she is the sweetest, kindest spirit and brings me great joy. For those who make fun of other people’s disabilities, I feel sorry for them because they have no idea what they are missing by being friendly and kind to people who have great gifts to offer – teaching us things about ourselves and helping us enjoy our crazy rushed world – because they know how to enjoy the simpler things in life at a reduced pace. It would be a really boring world if we all had the same IQ.

  5. Lovely post. Totally agree that sometimes if the adults would just stop and think like a child, life would be easier and more harmonious. I don’t think we listen to them enough, we complicate life for no reasons sometimes. Kids have the right idea, a human being is just that, a friend to be, nothing more no matter how different from you they are. Again very nice post 🙂

  6. Lovely post. Totally agree that sometimes if the adults would just stop and think like a child, life would be easier and more harmonious. I don’t think we listen to them enough, we complicate life for no reasons sometimes. Kids have the right idea, a human being is just that, a friend to be, nothing more no matter how different from you they are. Again very nice post 🙂

  7. I need a tissue just reading your sweet post and seeing those beautiful photos. My Grandbaby, Liberty Grace, has Soto’s Syndrome. I know some people look at her with pity, but many more look at her with love. She is a happy little girl with a huge fan club. God blessed us with her for a reason and we do our best to make Him proud.

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