I had the great honor to be able to make a short presentation to the WVICC today for World Down Syndrome Day. For those of you who may be interested. Here is a copy of my presentation and the links for references. I am so happy to have been able to address this wonder full group of people working with Birth to Three and to be with them on this special day! I did get a case of the nerves so! I really appreciate all your support! The text is written in call caps. I am not yelling, Its a Media thing… Just a habit…. I hope you enjoy
WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY PRESENTATION WVICC MEETING 3/21/12
(VIDEO TO START)
I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FOR ALLOWING ME TO MAKE THIS SHORT PRESENTATION
TODAY. IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT DAY, BUT I WILL BE HONEST. TWO YEARS AGO I WOULD NOT BE STANDING HERE WITH YOU. TWO YEARS AGO I HAD NO IDEA THAT MY LIFE’S’ DIRECTION WAS ABOUT TO CHANGE DRAMATICALLY. THAT AS THAT VIDEO REFERENCED – “I HIT THE LOTTERY” MY DAUGHTER BELLE WAS BORN WITH TRISOMY 21 FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT BE AWARE, I WORK IN THE RADIO INDUSTRY AND WORK CLOSELY WITH VARIOUS FORMS OF MEDIA. I MAY HAVE COVERED STORIES ABOUT ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORK WITH DISABLED CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. I HAVE WITH OUR COMPANY RAISED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR CMN-WVU CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL , WE ALSO SUPPORT AUTISM AWARENESS, CHALLENGER LITTLE LEAGUE, AND RELAY FOR LIFE. I HAD NOT HEARD OF THE BIRTH TO THREE PROGRAM AND WAS NOT AWARE OF THE IMPACT THAT THIS GROUP OF TALENTED INDIVIDUALS ON THE GROUND ….MAKE ON A DAILY BASIS. LET ME JUST SAY THAT I AM SO HAPPY TO BE A PART OF THIS AMAZING ORGANIZATION.
RECENTLY THE COMPANY THAT I WORK FOR HELD A WOMEN’S EXPO IN BECKLEY,
MY HUSBAND WAS STANDING NEAR OUR BROADCAST BOOTH AND OVERHEARD A CONVERSATION BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE AT THE NEXT BOOTH WHICH WAS A LOCAL COLLEGE. IT WAS BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN. SHE HAD MADE A COMMENT ABOUT HOW MORE CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES WERE GROWING UP AND GOING TO COLLEGE. SOMETHING THAT IS EXCITING. THE MAN RESPONDED THAT CHILDREN AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES WERE SOME OF THE MOST WONDERFUL IN THE WORLD, THEY ARE SO EAGER TO BE A PART OF THINGS AND GENERALLY HAPPY. ESPECIALLY CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME. THEY WERE TRULY THE HAPPIEST CHILDREN ON THE PLANET. A PLEASURE TO BE AROUND AND WORK WITH, HE WISHED ALL HIS EMPLOYEES HAD THAT KIND OF ATTITUDE. MY HUSBAND BROKE INTO THE CONVERSATION AND SAID THAT “ AS A PARENT OF A CHILD WHO HAS DOWN SYNDROME, I THANK YOU”
T 21– I FEEL LIKE I WOULD BE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR TO TALK ABOUT DOWN SYNDROME, WHAT IT IS AND HOW SO MANY ADVANCEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE IN MEDICAL FIELD THAT THE LIFE EXPECTANCY, GENERAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION OF THESE SPECTACULAR CHILDREN IS GROWING. SO I WON’T GET INTO THAT.
TODAY IS WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY. ALTHOUGH THE DATE 3-21 HAS BEEN DESIGNATED WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY FOR 7 YEARS.. THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR THAT IT HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY OBSERVED BY THE UNITED NATIONS.
ACROSS THE NATION AND AROUND THE WORLD THERE ARE DINNERS, PARADES, FUNDRAISERS, WALKS, AUCTIONS, ART DISPLAYS, CONFERENCES AND FASHION SHOWS JUST TO NAME A FEW. DOWN SYNDROME INTERNATIONAL ENCOURAGES THE WORLD TO RAISE AWARENESS – THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO, BUT IT IS ALSO AN EXCITING TIME FOR PERSONS WITH DOWN SYNDROME AND OTHER DISABILITIES IN THE WORLD OF POP CULTURE. I HAVE DEVELOPED A NATURAL HABIT OF TAKING THINGS FROM A MEDIA PERSPECTIVE … I LOOK AT A GIVEN SUBJECT AND THINK “ THAT IS THE ANGLE”, WHERE IS THE STORY?, WHAT WILL GRAB PEOPLE?” WELL THE STORY I HAVE FOR YOU TODAY IS THIS – IT IS AN EXCITING TIME FOR PERSONS WITH DOWN SYNDROME. NO LONGER ARE THEY IN THE BACKGROUND BUT ARE TAKING CENTER STAGE. THE REASON THAT THEY ARE TAKING CENTER STAGE HAS ALOT TO DO WITH THE WORK DONE BY PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELVES.
ACCORDING TO AN ARTICLE BY Gail Williamson, DSiAM Advocate and Director:
Down Syndrome in Arts & Media
Babies born with Down syndrome, are perhaps the youngest humans ever taught to be actors. Once they get a diagnosis they are rushed off to therapy to learn the skills that typical babies learn by playing in their cribs. Children with a diagnosis of Down syndrome suddenly find themselves meeting a host of new adults (therapists) who will “direct” them in reaching the milestones of babyhood.
THOSE WORDS JUMPED OUT AT ME. THANKS TO EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES LIKE THE ONES OFFERED IN THE BIRTH TO THREE PROGRAM ARE MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR THESE CHILDREN TO SUCCEED !, THE POSSIBILITIES ARE NOW ENDLESS FOR NOT ONLY CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME, BUT CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES AS A WHOLE.
IN YOUR FOLDERS YOU WILL SEE AN ARTICLE THAT WAS PUBLISHED JUST THIS YEAR IN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY FEATURING ACTORS WITH DOWN SYNDROME. IT NOTES THAT THREE PRIME TIME TV SERIES IN 2011 FEATURED ACTORS WITH DOWN SYNDROME IN PROMINENT ROLES.
EVEN THE ACTORS INVOLVED IN THIS MEDIA REVOLUTION CAN SEE WHAT A HUGE MOVE IT IS FOR THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA TO CONSIDER PERSONS WITH DOWN SYNDROME FOR ANY ROLE. THEY REALIZE THAT THEY ARE ROLE MODELS FOR A YOUNGER GENERATION. BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS AND MAKING THE WORLD TAKE NOTICE THAT HAVING AN ADDITIONAL CHROMOSOME ACTUALLY PLAYED TO THEIR FAVOR. JUST AS EACH AND EVERY PERSON IN THIS ROOM HAS USED A SPECIAL SKILL SET TO THEIR FAVOR – SO ARE THESE ACTORS AND ACTRESSES… WE TEACH THEM TO BE SELF ADVOCATES, TO STAND UP, AND SPEAK UP FOR THEMSELVES. WE OU STAND UP AND SPEAK UP FOR THEM AS WELL. AS PARENTS, AND AS TEACHERS.
AS THE VIDEO NOTED, A LITTLE GIRL IN ENGLAND ONE A BEAUTY PAGEANT AND A MODELING CONTRACT – A YOUNG MAN IS AN EAGLE SCOUT. – YOU SEE INSTANCE AFTER INSTANCE OF GIRLS ON THE CHEER SQUADS, BEING ELECTED HOMECOMING QUEEN. TARGET USED A CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME PREDOMINANTLY IN ONE OF THEIR PRINT ADS – A WEBSITE DEVOTED TO DOWN SYNDROME NOAH’S DAD LISTED 5 THINGS THAT WE LEARN FROM TARGET WITHOUT THEM SAYING A WORD
- They said that people born with Down syndrome deserve to be treated the same as every other other person on this planet.
- They said that it’s time for organizations to be intentional about seeking creative ways to help promote inclusion, not exclusion. (It’s no accident that Target used a model with Down syndrome in this ad; it was an intentional decision. If want the world to be a place where everyone is treated equal we can’t just sit around and watch the days tick away. We have to be intentional. We have to do something.)
- They said that companies don’t have to call attention to the fact that they choose to be inclusive in order for people to notice their support for people with disabilities. In fact, by not making a big deal out of it they are doing a better job of showing their support for the special needs community.
- They said it’s important for the world to see people born with disabilities with a fresh set of eyes. That it’s time for us to lay down all the inaccurate stereotypes from the past and move forward embracing the future with true and accurate ones
- They said you don’t have to spend a lot for your kids to look good! (I mean come on, that shirt’s only five bucks!)
AND NOW DAN MARINO IS LOOKING TO START A COLLEGE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. http://www.thephinsider.com/2012/2/8/2783770/miami-dolphins-legend-dan-marino-starting-college-for-developmentally
20 YEARS AGO, HOW MANY CHILDREN FACING DISABILITIES COULD EVEN DREAM OF GOING TO COLLEGE TO BEGIN WITH – NOW THEY ARE AROUND THE WORLD STANDING WITH THEIR PEERS … THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WORK HARD AND THEY ARE BEING HEARD. THANKS TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU
– SHOWING THEM THAT THEY CAN …. IT DOES NOT REALLY MATTER WHAT IT IS – YOU JUST CAN!
ON THIS, MY PERSONAL SECOND WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY = THE MESSAGE IT SIMPLE – IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA CHROMOSOME – FLAUNT IT! AND THE WORLD WILL NOTICE. IF WE WORK WITH THEM FROM THE START … THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING THEY CANNOT DO.