Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the News - November, 2011

I am always on the lookout for a good piece of news, especially when it comes to Down syndrome. 

As many of you know, Down Wit Dat has it's own page on Facebook.  On there I post things from all over the world that I think would be of interest in regards to Down syndrome.  Generally it is something that I think others might like to dialogue about...  In any event, I post a lot of links.

The other day, in typical Sean fashion, he casually mentions to me that "you post a lot of links" on the FB page and that I should be posting them here as well.  Ok, we'll give him credit for being right twice this year (the first was starting this blog in the first place).  After some careful thought, I've decided to do a monthly wrap up and feature all the stories that I have posted.  Welcome to "In the News", the first of these installments.

These are in order from newest to oldest (according to when I posted them).

  indicates a video
  indicates an audio clip
  indicates photos
  indicates links or resource materials
  is for blog posts.

Down Syndrome Music Therapy  (Australia)

Alzheimer's:  Deep brain stimulation 'reverses' disease (UK)

Woman with Down Syndrome enjoys life through Art (Vietnam)

Downs:  The History of a Disability (Canada)

Smile that melts misconceptions:  How Taya, who was born with Down's, became darling of the modelling world (UK)

Man with Down's Syndrome ignored after he was detained in hospital and locked up before he died (UK)

Brain Scan identifies patterns of plaques and tangles in adults with Down Syndrome (USA)

Still Face Experiment (USA)

Local Girl wins national award for Most Beautiful Eyes contest (USA)

Dr. Allen Crocker, 85;  offered care and hope to children with Down Syndrome (USA)

A case that shames the Isle of Man (UK)

Study Finds Genes for Down Syndrome Heart Problems (USA)

The Simple Truths of Service:  Johnny the Bagger (USA)

The Specials (UK)

Indian artist with Down’s Syndrome raises funds for Vietnamese brethren (Vietnam)

Teacher and student become mother and daughter on National Adoption Day (USA)

Duo in Chicago:  Down Syndrome doesn't stop this athlete and her sister (USA)

The Queen's Hidden Cousins (UK)

Lauren Potter - The ABLE ACT (USA)

Glee's Lauren Potter Appointed to Obama's Disability Committee (USA)

What If... (Canada)

Advances in Down Syndrome Cognitive Research (USA)

Learning Disabled Actors to Star in TV's Shameless (UK)

Peipmeier, Cantrell:  Looking Anew at Down Syndrome (USA)

Final Touchdown, ultimate show of sportsmanship (USA)

Royal Winter Fair - Co-Op Program (Canada)

Down Syndrome Ability Awareness (USA)

Danangi's success story shows the way to other Down Syndrome children (Sri Lanka)

Boyfriends, Uggs and Vodka:  One mother's strikingly candid account of seeing a Down Syndrome child grow up (UK)

Jamie Foxx's Sister:  New Down Syndrome Ambassador (USA)

Special Needs Apps (USA)

My Brother has Down's Syndrome and I Love Him (USA)

...Shall We Dance? (India)

Parents of Children with Down Syndrome Speak Out (Ireland)

Down's Syndrome Boy's Mum asks:  When did it become comedy to laugh at kids like my son? (UK)

Park Ridge Hospital breaks ground on Down syndrome facility (USA)

Buddy Walk raises awareness of Down Syndrome (Canada)

Alex and Jollean (Canada)

Carly's Voice:  Changing the world of Autism (Canada)

Man with Down's syndrome becomes first to pass driving test (Ireland)

2012 Calendar (Scotland)

Down Syndrome Program (USA)

Sudbury Catholic Student Helping Others to "See The Ability" (Canada)

Parents hope treatment will 'given them back their little boy' (Ireland)

U. receives major grant to explore causes of Down Syndrome (USA)

Defeat Dementia in Down's Syndrome Study (UK)

Jamie Foxx on Caring for Sister with Down Syndrome:  'I don't call it a condition, I call it living' (USA)

Shifting Perspectives at the Dublin Arts Council (Ireland)

Down Syndrome Awareness Week (Canada) 

Down Wit Dat was featured this month:

 The Colour of Flowers:

"The Colour of Flowers "

... and on Moms Who Drink and Swear:

"Nik's Monthly Picks"

Whew.  That was a lot of links.  I hope December is just as productive.  If you find a cool link, don't hesitate to send it my way via email or our Facebook Page (don't forget to "like" it while you are there).  You can also follow us on Twitter @Down_Wit_Dat.

...and that's the news.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Talk

You know you are getting older when time changes consistency.  When I was younger, time seemed to crawl. Summers were endless.  One night could seem like forever.  Time used to be denser, more viscous, stretching to an almost impossible degree like molasses from a spoon.  Now that I am older it seems to run through my fingers like water.

Lack of time, whether perceived or actual, is a common theme around here.  With three kids, two of which are under a year old, you can imagine how short the days really are.  In the course of those short days, the twins seem to be aging in front of my eyes.  What, over 9 months ago were tiny birds of human beings, so fragile and helpless, are now communicative, interactive and locomoting babies.  Each day brings new discoveries, new skills.  New conversations.

There was a point a few months ago where Zoe started to say "mumumumum" as she sucked in her bottom lip and looked all the world like a little old lady.  I took this as a victory of sorts as our eldest never said "mum" or "mama" until he was something like 18 months old.  His first purposeful words were early by some standards, around 7 or 8 months.  They were, in order of appearance,  "dada", "kitty" and "guitar".  Eventually he came up with a word for his dear old mum;  he called me "lady" for months.  You can imagine how happy I was to hear Zoe's "mumumum".  No matter how random, how unintentional, her first entry into the world of speech featured yours truly.  She said her first real word the other day.  It too was "dada", followed by "baba" which seems to mean her soother or a bottle.  When I came home and heard that she had said "dada", I wasn't about to take the wind out of hubby's sails.  "Mumumum" will always be enough for me.

Wyatt too is engaging in what they refer to as "canonical babbling" where there is a repetitive string of alternating consonants and vowels.  He tends to favor the letters r, l and a and has been doing it longer than his sister.  Like most people, I took that to mean that his speech was coming along right on schedule.  I have since learned that all babies, even those that are deaf and cannot hear themselves or those that are delayed for one reason or another engage in some form of canonical babbling.  This is not indication of future speech abilities.  I'm not going to let that bit ruin our enjoyment of it either as I am encouraging and repeating it back to him just as I have done with his siblings.  With him, it's different only in the sense that we throw in a sign once in a while (when we remember).  We do this for two reasons:  one, children with DS are visual learners and this makes it easier for him to associate.  The second reason is that children with DS are typically delayed in expression, not interpretation.  As any parent of a frustrated toddler can imagine, this can be a very difficult stage, one that can last much longer than with a typical child.  Since the neural pathways are the same for articulating a word or using a sign, teaching him sign language will assist in his self expression while helping him further develop the parts of his brain that control speech. 

The next stage, "variegated" or "mixed babbling" is something that I hear sporadically from him.  Instead of a repeated set of consonants and vowels, they mix it up and put two different sounds together.  As an example, instead of "gaga" we would have "wee-ga" or something similar.  Zoe is already all over this;  one day I took out her soother and she looked at me and said "Hi Bob".  As far as I know, girls develop in this area faster than boys do.  However, not to be outdone, Wyatt gets extra points as he manages to string together a whole variety of sounds, peppered liberally by "thhhhhpptttthhhh" noises.

The best part of all of this is that they take turns.  Instead of a house full of screaming/babbling/attention seeking infants, I have two that alternate.  This is awesome when they are upset (I've only had them both crying a handful of times) and even better when they "talk" to each other.  When they are close together, they touch or make a few sounds, but when across the room from each other (say, in their cribs or in the stroller) one will "ah-bah-blah-gaga" and then wait for the other to answer.  It is hilarious and priceless all at the same time.  It is wonderful to sit and listen one of them babble on the monitor, it is absolute magic to listen to both of them have some sort of "dialogue".   

They are also two of the most emotive babies I have ever seen.  This is a fabulous age as it is no longer a matter of "what that particular cry means" but rather what their face and body language are telling us.  Zoe is easy as she just starts doing what she wants.  She can get out of any three point harness, any time, anywhere.  Some babies fuss and lean and try and climb out after giving signals, she has one "tell" and then she is OUT.  Wyatt is a little more subtle.  He's a clever mimic (as is common in children with Down syndrome) and reaches out and touches things a lot.  You have to learn to read him in spots, but once you do, you realize how much he really is communicating with us. His smile is still infectious and can make even the worst days seem effortless.

We have definitely crossed over the threshold where we are no longer "talking at" the babies, but rather "talking to" and "talking with".  They both listen intently as they analyze your face and try to figure out what you are on about.  You can see it in their expression, you can see it in their attempts to answer back.  From Zoe's intense furrowed brow to Wyatt's "yuck" face (where he makes it very clear that he dislikes what food we've put in his mouth as he pushes it out with his tongue.  All that is missing is "why Momma?  Why?").  Whether verbal or non, they both have a lot to say.  It's a welcome change and a special place to be as we have so much to share with one another in the time that we have together.  Next it will be words, then sentences, then off to school...  This time too will slip through my fingers before I know it.  Down syndrome has taught us to cherish every step, every milestone, every moment.  Which we will do, even with something like this.  I've made a point of telling my kids how much I love them every single day.  They always tell me the same in return, even if it comes out "ah-bwah-gah".

Sunday, November 20, 2011


On Wednesday, Wyatt and Zoe turned 9 months old.  It was an occasion marked by a few tears, some of which were from me.  It's hard to fathom, but they have officially been "outside" longer than they were "in".  Every day seems to be marked with some new discovery;  yesterday was Zoe's purposeful "Dada", while Wyatt turned his head and made eye contact with me when I called his name.  Both were equally magical, both were equally greeted with joy.  These moments are coming more rapidly as time marches on towards their first birthday.

As they change, our daily life changes.  We are still trying to find our stride with my return to work and our crazy schedules.  Every day has something going on it seems;  "humdrum" is hardly Sean's day in the Brave New World of the Logan household.  One way or another, it eventually gets done.  Even if whatever it is has to wait a week to be done on my days off, it gets done.  My house always seems to have that shaken, not stirred look about it; toys, shoes and bits of clothing (usually socks) strewn about, dishes (gah!) everywhere and piles of used bibs on the kitchen table.  Then there is the laundry.... oooh the laundry!  I plan to spend two days next week to do it all up.  Consecutively.  Without pause, except to feed myself, the children and use the bathroom.  I'm still not sure that will be enough time. 

It's hard to sometimes, but to get anywhere, we have to set goals.  However well meaning, however lofty, however completely batsh☠t insane, we have to at least try.  We simply have too much going on not to.  It's what I think of as Newton's Laws of Parenting:  each new skill they develop, each little nuance they perfect has an equal and opposite reaction from us. Intersecting nicely to this is Murphy's Law, which usually ensures we are scrambling around at the last minute trying to baby proof and avert disaster in general.

One of the latest things has been Zoe's mobility.  We are constantly trying to adapt to our little girl and her astounding (to us) physical prowess.  She is now slowly crawling on her hands and knees (but is still lightning fast on her belly).  She pulls herself up, sits and I have caught her taking a few tentative steps as she held onto the edge of the coffee table.  Last night I buckled them both in their swings and closed the gate, leaving them in the living room as I headed upstairs to get ready for work (my 5 year old was in the room and my husband was in the next room and checking on them every few minutes).  As I was getting dressed all I heard was "Hon?  Did you leave them both in the swings?"  Puzzled, I answered "Yes?", to be told "Well, they aren't now".  I flew downstairs, pulling my T-shirt on as I went, to find that Zoe had wiggled out of her swing and was trying to crawl into Wyatt's lap (who thought this was all hilarious).  It was a little freaky to say the least, especially as both swings were still moving.  Keeping her safe is going to be a big challenge, especially after the gate fiasco of last week:  the extra long gate that we had purchased almost fell on her and my eldest. Somehow in the process of me trying to catch it, I slipped, half fell and managed to step on her little hand.  She was fine, I was fine (eventually!) but that particular gate went back the next day in exchange for a wooden one that is bolted to the wall.  The first morning I shut the new gate, ran upstairs to grab something and came down to a little face squished against the wooden rails pleading for release.  So far then,  it is working just fine.

Wyatt's OT came out last week as well and did a little assessment on his progress.  He is pushing himself up on his hands occasionally and has added a little bit of pivoting on his stomach. He has managed a maximum of 90 degrees thus far.  He has also rolled over and over (uni-directionally and slowly) and in doing so has moved across the middle of the living room floor.  Our days of him staying put are rapidly coming to a close as well. With our current regimen of positioning and small resistance exercises, we hope to accomplish a few more goals with Wyatt:  sitting, pivoting 180 degrees, rolling to both sides and more developing more control with his upper body in preparation for crawling.  Vocally he seems to be just about right as he carefully imitates our sounds and expresses himself more freely with both his voice and his affect.  There is no time limit on these objectives.  Like just about everything with our little guy, they will be met in their own time.

I don't know about your school, but there is a ton of paperwork that comes home and lots of things that we have to sign and send money back for.  Milk.  Book fairs.  Fundraising.  It never seems to end.  To try and keep this organized, we have two (pretty) bulletin boards in the kitchen.  One is for my son's stellar artwork, the other is for all the papers from school.  Last week, we were trying to get an idea of how much money I had to go take out of the machine in order to send it with him.  As we were adding up our list, my husband adds "...and $15 bucks for their trip" and hands me a blue sheet that he had found.  Once again it seemed they were going to the Living Arts Centre for a theatrical presentation of some kind.  I tacked it up on the board and forgot about it as we were promptly distracted by other things.  The next morning I was gathering up things to send back to the school and could not find the permission slip portion of the trip paper.  I had the front sheet with the staple hole in it where the permission page had obviously been joined at some point, but not now.  I looked everywhere, but with bus time rapidly approaching, I quickly scribbled off the following note to his teacher:
"Dear ____,
We seem to have misplaced the permission slip for the upcoming trip to the Living Arts Centre.  Could you please send another one so that Quinn does not miss out? 
Thank you in advance,
Jen (Mrs.  Logan)"
That day I got a note back:
"Dear Mrs. Logan
Thank you for the note.  I am not sure what I should be sending home as we do not have an upcoming trip.  
Thanks, ____"
 Confused, I looked at the trip letter.  It was dated 2010. 


Luckily, hubby had the parent-teacher interview the next day, not me. 

There are a lot of little niggling things that need addressing here and there... from little house repairs to putting up the Christmas lights to spending more one on one time with my eldest.  Little goals that range in importance from meh to good idea to absolutely. As you may have guessed, there is very little me time in there, except for what I carve out for myself on the computer or in the bathtub.  Getting more sleep is certainly on my list of well meaning tasks for myself.  The joke there is that it has been at the top of my list for over 10 years now.  I used to have terrible insomnia.  I would toss and turn and be unable to settle to sleep, unless I was completely exhausted or medicated.  Then I would only sleep for a few hours before waking up again.  Thanks to the kids, that is no longer the case. I can sleep anywhere, anytime... it really doesn't matter.  If I sit still for more than 10 minutes, I am out whether I like it or not.  I've gone from having bouts of mind numbing insomnia to narcoleptic fits.   That's where the Newton's Laws of Parenting (bisected by Murphy's Law) come in again.  The more likely I am to fall asleep, the more likely one of my kids is to start crying and needing attention.  It never fails.  You could set your watch to it.

Our goals generally walk that razor's edge between reality and way the hell out there.  Getting through some weeks is like trying to assemble a giant jigsaw puzzle where the pieces keep changing shape and you have to use your toes.  It's next to impossible some days, where others seem childishly simple.  I'm still trying to come up with an answer to "I don't know how you do it".    I have yet to figure that one out, but I think goal setting has a lot to do with it.  The trick to that is to let it flow.  We try not to get too rigid as that will only raise our anxiety level and make our house an unhappy one.  Instead, we dial it back a bit and get the most important things done.  Trying to outthink the little buggers is also exhausting so we try and stay a little bit ahead so that everything is as easy as possible.  It works with things like baby food, not so much with the clean clothes.  As a result, the house is a mess, but dinner is in the crock pot.  The children are dressed properly and clean, we are generally not.  I may not have the whole Monday is library day and the milk money has to be back Thursday which is the same day as "Sharing" (show and tell), but dammit, one or two or all of us are at the bus stop twice a day and on time.  We're also a funny, happy, silly bunch that genuinely love one another. That goal, at least, we seem to have met without a problem.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Making the Best of the Worst Case Scenario

I've been putting off this post for a few days now.  I'm pretty sure it's the subject matter. (It would have to be.  What else would drive me to cleaning instead?)  Not only does financial stuff, as a rule, make me want to stick a pen in my eye, but I'm not very keen about thinking about my own death either. However, when you have children, these things have to be thought about and planned for.  Normally you think in terms of a child reaching the age of majority, providing for schooling and then hoping for the best if they have to strike out without you after that.  You hope that whatever time you had with them will prepare them for life.  What if that child has a learning disability?  What if that child has Down syndrome?

Recently my husband was able to attend a Will and Estate planning session that was tailored specifically for parents of children with Down syndrome.  I was unable to attend, however I did get the crib notes version and the literature to peruse.  Of course, I then started poking around to see what I could come up with.

I won't go into too many specifics as it will depend on the laws of your area, but there are a few subjects that seem universal and should be considered by parents of children with Down syndrome.  One of the first major hurdles, at least for me, was to appreciate that we don't know how independent Wyatt will be at this point.   It is also too much for me to assume that he will live with one of his siblings.  It is a nice thought and I would hope that would be the case, but it realistically may not be possible (due to schooling or specific needs or even Wyatt's desire for independence).

I had a lot of questions.  Who would look after Wyatt?  Who would pay for his housing, clothing, medical expenses, things that affect his day to day life?  How would this impact any government funding if he would need it?  Luckily, these sort of things have been addressed and are pretty much a matter of routine.

Unlike your average trust fund which turns into assets at a certain age or when certain criteria are met, many countries have created trust funds specifically for people with special needs.  These trusts will allow the beneficiaries to continue to live with dignity, yet not be burdened with the administrative aspects.  A trustee is appointed;  that person or organization would see that the monies are dispersed as needed.  

There is some government funding for adults with learning disabilities, at least here in North America, which is mostly income based.  As the person themselves do not have access to their trust, it is not considered income and therefore does not disqualify them from receiving funding.  Here in Canada we have a few options, including  RDSPs and a "Henson Trust" which is an absolute discretionary trust, where you can dictate all the specifics of how and when the money is applied.   You also may want to consider options that deal with money coming in from outside sources (such as family, interest, donations, that sort of thing).  Many grandparents like to set up bank accounts for their grandchildren;  even something as well meaning as this might interfere with funding and be considered as assets.  Instead, suggest to well wishers to contribute to an RDSP in the child's name.  As a side note, unlike RRSPs and RESPs, a RDSP's funds are not totally taxed when they are dispersed upon maturity.  Only any growth and government contributions are taxed and at a lower rate.  There are also things such as pensions and life insurance policies to consider, where naming a child with a disability as a beneficiary would actually work as a disadvantage.  Instead, one would name the trust fund as a beneficiary.  It would be a shame to lose well intended (and possibly much needed) funds to taxes and the like. 

Flexibility seems to be a common theme as well.  With this type of trust, you can dictate how to proceed for almost any possible scenario that you can think of.  In the event that your special need child passes away prematurely, where do the funds go?  What if your child marries? Divorces?  Is outlived by their spouse?  These questions (and a million more) can easily be addressed by an absolute discretionary trust (or Special Needs Trust for our American friends).

I'm not a financial expert and don't ever plan to be. I will however, allow those that are to figure out how to do what I want to do with Wyatt's financial future.  There are people that specialize in Disability Law and I encourage everyone to seek them out.  I am also not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. I was very relieved to learn that it was a matter of routine to set up safety nets for my son that were independent of how much money I was making and not that much different from the considerations I would make for my other two children. I was also happy to learn that this wasn't something that I should have been doing already, it is something that I can start at any time. It is comforting to know that when I am no longer here, Wyatt's needs will be met.  Don't get me wrong, I plan on being around a long, long time.  If I'm not tho', all my kids will be looked after.  This was one of the nagging things that haunted me after he was born;  thanks to this information, (if you can pardon the horrible pun) I can finally lay this one to rest.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

See the Ability

Recently we were at the pediatrician for the twins check up.  Now that Sean is on paternity leave, the whole process is a lot easier, but we still have to bumble in, check in with the secretary, navigate the stroller through a narrow hall and door, get them out of the stroller and strip them down in preparation of the great weigh in.  It's hard not to feel like a circus ringmaster as we take babies out of our clown car of a stroller.  This one is wiggling, this one is crying, this one is trying to roll away while this one is busy pulling faces and charming the heck out of everyone.  Oh look.  This one pooped.

This visit was no different.  The great weigh-in found Zoe tipping the scales at a muscular 14.5 lbs while Wyatt was just over 13 lbs.  The are about the same size (Zoe is a tiny bit longer) and both have the same head circumference.  The weight differential can totally be attributed to the hypotonia;  Wyatt has weaker muscles which causes him to move less, which causes him to have less lean muscle mass (which is heavier than fat).  Both are continuing along their own prospective growth curves:  Zoe is in the 5th to 10th percentile while Wyatt is in the 25th percentile on the Down Syndrome Growth Charts.  At six weeks corrected (giving them a "developmental age" of 6.5 months at the time of the appointment), the pediatrician was amazed to see Zoe pull herself to a stand, fall into a sitting position, sit unassisted and have a mixture of rolling/crawling/army crawling.  Wyatt is just Wyatt:  he is still working on pushing himself up whilst on his tummy and he has added a small amount of pivoting.

The gulf between them is starting to be noticeable.  Although some well meaning family members (that obviously don't read this blog) tried to "warn me that this day would come" (?!), we aren't saddened by it as they predicted.  Yes, Zoe is a superstar.  No one has told her that she is ahead of the curve for a 6 week premature baby (and I'm not of the mind to change that either).  Wyatt is progressing at his own rate that is unique to him.  That is the nature of Down syndrome.

After they were born and we had proof positive that Wyatt had DS (his karyotype), I was talking to a friend and answering a question about Wyatt and was listing off a variety of things that he "couldn't" or "wouldn't" be able to do.  Wise woman that she is, my friend fired back with "Yes, and Zoe won't be an athlete at the Special Olympics either".  She is right.  There is a list of things that Wyatt won't/can't/shouldn't be able to do, but that is not what is important here.  It is what he CAN do that is important.  I don't think my friend realizes what a pivotal moment in my thinking that one little quip was, but it was.  You have to see beyond the diagnosis (and that is what it is... a diagnosis, not a disease, not an affliction, not something to be suffered) and see the person. We do this with our "typical" children instinctively;  if little Johnny shows an interest in music or sports we sign them up for lessons or a team (or hopefully both).  If our children show an ability in writing or drawing, we encourage this.  Maybe they can be the next Pulizer Prize winner... maybe they will be the next Michalangelo.  Maybe they won't.  But, we see the potential.  We see the ability.  It's the same thing with children with Down syndrome.  You have to see past the diagnosis and accept the person.

This week, from November 1st to 7th is National Down Syndrome Awareness Week in Canada.  This year, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is encouraging everyone to "See the Ability", to look beyond Down Syndrome and see the person, not the genes.  That's a philosophy that we can easily embrace, as we have been doing it all along. 

We see Wyatt's ability.  His ability to make us laugh, to be the loveable huggable little fella that he is and the wonderful man he will become.  We hope that one day, not too long from now, everyone else will be able to see it too.

You can learn more about National Down Syndrome Awareness Week on the CDSS website,  "like" the Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @CdnDownSyndrome

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


We did it!

I still can't believe it, but I managed to get through 31 days of blogging.  It's been cathartic, it's been educational.  It's been unbelievable.

It's been exhausting... and totally worth it.

In October, my blog has had visitors from The United States, Canada, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, South Africa, Poland, India, Thailand, China, The Netherlands, France, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Moldova, Singapore and Latvia.

My voice has carried farther than I could ever have dreamed.  I hope you all found something interesting, informative or that helped you in some way.

As a little recap (and a handy reference guide) here is the month in total:

Special Entries Family Day Sunday
1   - Happy DS Awareness Month
31 - Happy Hallowe'en!
2   - Life Without DS
9   - Welcome to the Family
16 - Day of Rest?
23 - Be Gentle
30 - I Wish I'd Known

Medical Monday Teaching Tuesdays
3   - Eye Problems Frequently Experienced ...
10 - Types of Down Syndrome
17 - Hearing Complications with DS
24 - Altantoaxial Instability
4   - Physical Features of Down Syndrome
11 - A Brief History of Down Syndrome, Part 1
18 - A Brief History of Down Syndrome, Part 2
25 - Down Syndrome and the Developing Child

Wyatt (and Zoe) WednesdayTherapy Thursday
5   - Wednesday with Wyatt
12 - "Wy" Not?
19 - At Home with Wyatt and Zoe
26 - Group Hug
6   - Heal Thyself
13 - Learn to Speak "Therapist" in a Few ...
20 - ...Shaping Up
27 - Speak to Me

Factoid Friday Story Time Saturday
7   - Just the Facts, Ma'am! Welcome ...
14 - ...Perceptions of Down Syndrome
21 - ...7 Good Reasons to Breastfeed...
28 - Conditions Concurrent with DS
8   - Homecoming
15 - Birth Stories
23 - Just Like Us
29 - Down Syndrome Advocate, Albert Pujols

Before I forget (which happens more than I care to admit) I would be completely remiss if I didn't thank a few people for helping this month be a success and to help me get my voice heard...

First of all, thanks to Nicole Kane Knepper for featuring me on her blog, Moms Who Drink and Swear and for her tweets and shares of my entries.  You could tell when she did something as my hit counter would have a seizure.  Through her, so many more people have found and connected with us.  Many are not of the DS community, but have found something here that has resonated with them.  Nikki, thank you.

Thank you to Ginger Greenleaf Caballero from Counting Caballeros for her tireless "pimping" efforts of DwD.  She too has helped expose me to more people that would probably not have read this otherwise.  Ginger, thank you.

Thank you to all that took the time to Retweet, +1, "Up", or share my entries... to make a comment, send me an email or PM me on Facebook.  I cannot properly express how much this support has meant to me. 

To my friends and family, thank you for your patience, understanding and support.  Thank you for understanding why this was important to me and cheering me on.

Finally, to my husband.  Thank you for your patience and understanding and your occasional proof reading and grammatical skills.  Thank you for being such a wonderful husband and father to our children.

Today is also the beginning of Down Syndrome Awareness Week (November 1-7) here in Canada.  I will be returning to my usual schedule after today.  However, that will not stop the updates on DwD's Facebook Page, or my tweets (@Down_Wit_Dat);  I will continue to share stories that inform and inspire.  I will also openly challenge my home and native land to make Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  May I suggest October or March?

Through the 31 for 21 I have challenged myself mentally, creatively and even physically.  Now, it is time to pass the challenge on. I challenge all of you to make a difference.  Educate one person.  Just one.  Call someone on the use of the "R" word and explain how something that may seem so innocent to some can hurt people that surely don't deserve it.  Explain that hypotonia and speech impediments do not dictate intellect.  Help the friends and family of a newly diagnosed infant as they struggle through the first days.  Support local organizations that help people live independently and with dignity.  Educate your children and encourage inclusion.  Help wipe out ignorance, help wipe out fear.  Be the light in the dark... for one person.  If everyone reading this today does that, we will have already changed a little bit of the world in over 25 countries.  If those people challenge at least one person...  A world where Wyatt can reach for whatever star he chooses might actually be around the corner. 

The possibilities are endless.  Our adventures continue...  One challenge at a time.
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