by Bob Doman
The description of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month is as follows:
“The month of October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, where we celebrate and let everyone know our abilities and that we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to.”
Children and adults with Down syndrome are near and dear to my heart, having known and worked with specific individuals with Down syndrome from shortly after their birth to adulthood. I have been working to help people realize the potential of children with Down syndrome throughout my career. I have also tried to communicate that the potential of these great children can only be realized through opportunity. Defining and creating those opportunities has been my quest.
“Capable of doing anything we set our minds to,” needs to be qualified. Capable of doing anything we set our minds to—given the opportunities to develop to their innate potentials and being seen as the capable and contributing individuals that they can be. It all comes down to the vision of what can be and then the specific opportunities needed to make it be.
I have often spoken to our NACD families around the world who have children with Down syndrome about my vision for their children, which is to provide them with the opportunities to function well, well as in to be educated, highly capable, having strong cognitive function, so as to function in and contribute to society, have decent jobs, a good social life and relationships, and independence—to live a typical life.
I believe that each of our NACD families with a child who has Down syndrome has not just a responsibility to help provide their child with every opportunity they can, but to also share their child’s or adult’s successes with others. Every one of our NACD kids has the potential to change lives. By their example they can help define what opportunity really looks like, what the needs of the whole child are, and what they can achieve. Most families around the world still do not have a good vision of what can be. Our kids by example can help others create that vision and point the world in directions that can help more and more children really reach their potentials and live great lives.
Parents, educators, professionals, and the populace as a whole need to set their minds to the vision and do the things that are necessary and which they are morally obligated to do to help these great folks achieve their potentials. The kids can’t do it without us!
Reprinted by permission NACD Newsletter, October 2020 ©NACD