Yesterday was World Down Syndrome Day, a day that I never knew existed.
Now it will be a day that I will never ever forget.
This year I was contacted by Renee Canfield to see if our school would like to participate in this special day. I did a little research and thought it would be a great idea. I wanted to find a way to help the children understand Down Syndrome but also just recognize everyone's unique qualities. I found the perfect product from Kelsey Mango. She is also a teacher who has a child with Down Syndrome. Her packet was amazing and filled with so many wonderful resources. It was hard to choose what we should do in our classroom!
First things first, we had to wear our crazy socks.
I had the privilege of teaching this amazing little girl last year. I just love this photo her teacher captured! It melts my heart!
|My first grade students!|
Word spread to the junior high and they also wore their crazy socks! Mr. Mitchell (my husband) participated too!
|Yes, he's all mine ladies!!!|
|McCord students showing their support as well.|
For my first grade students we discussed chromosomes. I know, right! First graders! Well believe it or not the picture images displayed by Kelsey Mango are a great visual and I think most of them understood that children with Down Syndrome have 3 #21 chromosomes.
Then we watched a video by MattyB. and discussed how Sarah was feeling in the video.
Here is a link to that video.
This led to a great discussion with the students.
Next up we discussed muscle tone. This is such a significant part of the struggles children with Down Syndrome face. Mrs. Friend from The Friendly Teacher is doing a demonstration to show how speaking can be difficult for children with low tone. She has marshmallows in her mouth. We had all the kids try to speak to one another with marshmallows in their mouth.
We also tried writing with a sock on our hand to show how writing can be difficult as well.
Our last activity was creating our own unique socks. We talked about how boring it would be if we were all the same. We decorated our socks and wrote about our favorite things.
The day was so much fun for everyone and I feel like they all have a better understanding of Down Syndrome and how important it is to treat people with respect and include everyone.
I am grateful to have shared this experience with my students and co-workers. Every year it seems as though more awareness is spread about many disabilities and children are being accepted and celebrated for who they are!
I would have never imagined or predicted the life I live right now.
The devastation I felt at the first diagnosis of Down Syndrome is indescribable.
Now I look back and I hate that I ever felt that way. I wish I could tell people not to grieve or be upset. Charlie has truly been the best thing that has ever happened to our family. My husband and I are completely enamored by her beauty, smile, and love for life. We CELEBRATE every milestone and never take anything for granted. With the inclusion and education we provide in our school system, I truly believe we will increase awareness and acceptance.
My little Charlie is soon approaching her third birthday and I don't know how that is seemingly possible. Words can not even express the joy this child has brought to my heart, my family, and endless other people she has met. She has been such a blessing in so many ways.
To read more about our story Click Here.