Today marks the end of Down Syndrome awareness month and another year of blogging for 31 days straight. I find that it has become harder for me to continuously blog for Down Syndrome awareness because life is so normal for us. However, that is exactly why I want to blog and take on this challenge every October because I want to show that Colin lives a very typical and fulfilling life. I hope that on any given day, someone may stumble upon my blog and see the things that Colin can do, does do, tries to do, works hard to do and wants to do every day. He is a bright, special, loving, amazing little boy and has changed many lives simply by being here.
As Down Syndrome awareness month started to come to a close this year, my mind started to race with ideas that I could do to represent what a special and valuable life Colin has. Raising awareness is important to me because I want to erase stereotypes and show that Colin's life is actually very typical.
I started reaching out to some people who spend a lot of time with Colin for "quotes" about him that I could use in my final video. I talked to family and friends but also spoke with Colin's support team at school for help. While we all push and challenge Colin, they have a very special job of building important skills for the rest of his education all the while loving him too. Colin has a community of people that believe in him and push him to accomplish everything that anyone else can do.
I share our family with anyone that opens our blog because I want to show that Down Syndrome is not scary. There are challenges and difficult times but that's the same with all of life. What I am sharing with you today is what people think about ONE life, ONE little boy with Down Syndrome who is more loved and valued than I could ever put into words.
Colin HAS Down Syndrome but his life is important to all of those who know him.
The day Colin was born was arguably the proudest day of my life, yet it was somewhat overshadowed by the possibility of a diagnosis. On the day the diagnosis of Down syndrome was confirmed so many questions, concerns and doubts raced through my mind and they all felt like they shattered my heart, my hopes for Colin and all of our dreams. Ever since that day, Colin has shown me the true meaning of love and what a real bond is. We share accomplishments, struggles, dreams, hopes, love, hugs, kisses and we celebrate together.Colin, if i could gather up all the smiles, laughs, memories and pride that you have brought me through the years and give them back to you, i would. You make me a better person and i couldn't be prouder to be your Daddy.
Aunt Kimmy said:
Colin is a strong, loving boy who never gives up on anything and has forever changed many lives just by being Colin.
He is God’s perfection. Colin has shown everyone that anything is possible, and he is my hero.
Colin has always had the ability to make me smile even when I'm having a bad day! Love, nana
Uncle Pat said:
Colin has brought a wide variety of people together! I'm proud to have a nephew with Down syndrome! I'm proud to now be able to help such an important organization (Special Olympics)! I love Colin's confidence in everything he does!
Uncle Brian and Aunt Maureen:
"When Colin finished running at the Special Olympics, he said, 'I did it Daddy.' You sure did kid. You sure did."
Miss Shannon (Colin's speech therapist):
Sometimes I take for granted how special my job really is and certain students along the way remind me how lucky I am to be a speech therapist, and Colin is one of those children. In working with Colin we have challenged each other, I challenge him to use more words and he challenges me to find ways to keep him engaged and motivated. I have seen Colin’s language grow so much since he started coming to our preschool at age 3. He has gone from throwing the toys/materials that he didn’t like onto the floor to telling me “I don’t like that” or “No”. It is an honor, a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the team that works with Colin and it is awesome to see all of the gains that he has made, from walking independently to answering questions to greeting his friends when we go into the classroom. I can only hope that I have made a difference in Colin’s life by helping him gain the language that he needs to communicate because he has made a difference in my life by being such a special little boy.
Miss Liz (Colin's classroom teacher):
I have had the privilege of facilitating Colin's journey with learning and discovery in his Preschool classroom for over a year. Colin is a sweetheart who comes to school greeting everyone from his bus drivers, peers and teachers with smiles and hugs. He loves to sing and dance and he really enjoys being the "star of the show" and getting a round of applause. There are times when learning new skills can be difficult for Colin, but he displays such character when he works hard. And it is clear how proud he is when he knows he has learned something new. Not only is Colin making friends and learning in class, he is also teaching us valuable lessons. Such as how to take time to enjoy the moment, how important it is to have a strong family team supporting you and if you can believe in yourself you can do it no matter what!
Miss Sue H. (Colin's physical Therapist):
Colin doesn't necessarily follow every stereotype that you would think of when you imagine the diagnosis of Down syndrome. Is he stubborn? YES! So am I. Does he have preferences for certain activities? YES! So do I. Every day Colin learns something new and owns this skill. He loves when I video his successes and show the video to his parents, teachers, and friends. Colin is a good friend and loves supporting his friends' successes too. "High Five" parties are celebrated frequently. No matter what happened during our time together, every session is ended with "Bye Sue see you tomorrow, Love you!" "Bye Colin see you tomorrow, love you too!"
Miss Sue F. (Colin's Occupational therapist):
Reflecting on my last 1 1/2 years working with Colin as an OT in the Brick Township Schools, I would have to start off with my favorite Colin sayings..." Oooookaaaaayyyy and no no no no." He came in toddling and as I watched him last week during a puppet show sitting on the floor with a straight posture, I realized how far he has come. Colin, I am proud of you and know you will power through any hurdles you have in your future.
Jorie and Zach:
"Colin has an amazing ability to put smiles on the faces of those fortunate enough to be around him, he lifts my spirit every time we see him."
Colin has changed my life. I see the world differently because of him. He’s made me stop and really see people for who they are regardless of their differences. He has helped me become a more patient and accepting teacher. I’m so lucky his parents let me spend so much time with him!
Colin is my favorite junior lifeguard!
Colin...my life was forever changed the day you came into it. You have taught me a patience I never had before. You have shown me that it is not how fast you get somewhere, it's all about what you make of the journey getting there. I was so scared the day you born but you alone have shown me that there is nothing to be afraid of. I love you with all my heart....thank you for showing all of us that YOU are one special and amazing little boy who just happens to have Down Syndrome. Love, Your Mommy