Anticipating My First Big Down Syndrome Event

We are T minus 2 days until our Buddy Walk for Down syndrome. I’m excited but not even sure what to expect. I imagine the obvious though – that there are going to be A LOT of people with Down syndrome. I have to be honest, this makes me a little apprehensive as I still feel like I don’t have much experience with others with Down syndrome. I’ve been to a few playgroups and therefore have been able to see and interact with toddlers with Down syndrome, mostly age 3 and under. They are very sweet and make me feel like things are going to be ok, at least for the next few years. On the other hand, I have hardly any interaction with children, teens, or adults with Down syndrome. Life for people with Down syndrome, specifically those over the age of 3, is something I feel like I know nothing about. The only adult I’ve met is named Ben and he’s the self advocate at our Down syndrome clinic. We speak with him every time Gigi has an appointment and he’s amazing. He works at the clinic and also busses tables at a restaurant. He lives with a bunch of people his age and has a girlfriend. His parents live a few towns away. Every new parent of a baby with Down syndrome wants their baby to grow up and be like Ben. But is Ben the exception? That’s what I don’t know.

The only other experience involving adults with Down syndrome that I can remember having was recently when we were vacationing at Lake George. I was sitting in our hotel lobby when a group of individuals with disabilities arrived for check in. I could tell by their facial features and short stature that some had Down syndrome. One woman was dressed to impress. She looked like she was on her way to cruising to the Bahamas with her flowy pants outfit, over sized sunhat and sunglasses. Scooby Doo was hanging out in the lobby at the time so she made sure to get some pictures with him. Another man was in a wheelchair and he was yelling things so I wondered if he had dementia. Quite a range going from someone like Ben to a man in a wheelchair being a bit disruptive. So I guess I should expect to see all ranges of ability at the walk this weekend.

Will I get the glimpse of Gigi’s future at the walk? That’s why I’m apprehensive. I’m worried that I’ll see a future that’s not so bright for her. I’ve been told that tomorrow’s adults with Down syndrome will not be like today’s because today’s adults didn’t have the interventions and therapies that are currently available to our children. So I guess I’ll have to remember that and keep in mind that tomorrow will be brighter than today.

October is Down syndrome awareness month. This month I am participating in a blog challenge for Down syndrome awareness. Click the link below to see a list of more blogs posting for Down syndrome awareness during the month of October…

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