Saturday, July 21, 2012

NDSC Convention, Day 2 {Quick Thoughts}

I know.

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."
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8 comments:

  1. Yep, it was awesome, and Erin was awesome, and her speech incredibly rousing! Brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat, too, and I was serious about that mutiny! Hahaha!

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  2. That's the main reason I wanted to attend - to connect with adults with Ds. Self advocates.....

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  3. I've got tears in my eyes just reading your blog and what Becca wrote! I'm glad you are having such powerful and uplifting experiences! :-)

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  4. All I can say is WOW. Love it! I hope to be able to experience a convention one of these days. For now, I will take the hope and optimism that you received and hold it to my heart. Thanks!!

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  5. I think the biggest thing I learned this weekend is to not be so afraid for Bella's future. We had lunch yesterday with four self advocates and they were so impressive, eloquent and funny - meeting them and hearing some of the adult speakers was just amazing!

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  6. At MVLE (where I'm interning this summer) we have monthly meetings called Our Voices Count in which the individuals with disabilities can advocate for what they want changed in their day programs or jobs. It's amazing what can be proven when someone actually gives them the time of day. They're so much smarter than people give them credit for! - Maxie

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  7. I am crying because this makes me so happy!

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