Along with the awareness week I gave a 30 minute talk during the school day. I spoke with 8th, 9th, then 10th graders. Our administration is understandably against whole school assemblies. Needless to say I was nervous on Monday about what I would say and how it would go.
This was going to be the largest group of people I have ever spoken in front of and this time I was speaking about something very personal. I talked about Lorelei, her experiences, and our expectations. The session was led off by showing an r-word video produced by Special Olympics Virginia. I then explained how fortunate our daughter is. They were astonished when I gave the statistic that 93% of fetuses are aborted if they test positive for Down Syndrome. Even now this stat is amazing to comprehend. I then told of Lorelei’s surgeries and struggles. But I was never far off from mentioning her successes and how well she is doing.
She would always finish the show for me by strutting her stuff onto the stage so I could hold her in my arms and wave hello. I left each group with a final thought that Lorelei, or any other person, is not defined by having Down Syndrome. After all it is something that she has. It is not who she is. I also wanted them to not feel bad for someone with Down Syndrome nor for Maria and I. I wanted them to understand that she was just like them, a child growing up and learning as she goes. It just may take her a little bit longer to learn it.
The sessions went better and better each time. I got more confidence and things flowed easier. By the end of the week the administration commented that they felt it was the best and most informative sessions the students had gone to in a while. They were even impressed at how well the students acted during the session. This made me feel even better about it.
Maria will be speaking to the middle school during their awareness week and r-word campaign on March 5th. It’ll be a younger crowd but we expect them to do just as well with the cause.
Here are some pictures of the banners that the we and the students signed.
Next up: Game for Respect
The awareness week was finished off with a football game where we took donations for a local organization. This organization helps provide job opportunities for people with intellectual or physical challenges. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how that went.