I know that adults with Down syndrome live happy, productive lives.
I know that young men and women with Down syndrome can act as self-advocates and speak well.
I know. I've read it. I have textbooks that tell me all the things that adults with intellectual disabilities can do.
But to be surrounded by adults with Down syndrome who are powerful self-advocates, speaking out on their own behalf, well, I am encouraged.
Today I learned about early math, early speech, and person-centered planning. I have tons of notes. I'll write more about specific things I learned and plan to apply with Ellie soon, but for now, I want to bask in what I learned outside of the workshops.
Yesterday, more than one adult with Down syndrome helped me juggle Ellie and three bags and a stroller before my backup arrived. Each person who assisted us was genuinely engaged with Ellie and served me. The first table I approached at the conference was manned by a gentleman with DS, who helped me gather paperwork to inquire about continuing education credits.
One of the speakers today, a beautiful young woman, asked the audience not to baby adults with Down syndrome, and to let them make their own choices. She encouraged her peers with DS, "Don't let your parents decide every little thing." She was powerful, and as I was on the verge of tears, a fellow mom laughed and whispered, "She's causing a mutiny among the children!"
Today I watched a group of self-advocates donate books featuring people with Down syndrome to DC Public Schools.
I shouldn't be surprised.
I know what people with Down syndrome can do.
Thank you, thank you, to the self-advocates who continue to change my perceptions and teach me.
Two more workshops tomorrow!
PS. Linking up here, for Meriah's blog hop on "the influence of disability in your world."