"The Disability is Not a Limitation"

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  I want to start out by saying that I believe this video would not only be useful in educating today's children and youth, but can also be used to send a message to our entire society that Down syndrome is a disability NOT a limitation.

 

Included is a short video of a young man, Eli and his father, Justin, sharing their experience climbing to the first base camp of Mount Everest.

How many of you have done that???

In this video Justin (Eli's father) talks about how there is nothing out of the realm of possibility when an individual has Down syndrome. In fact, while they were climbing, Eli's health was often better than all the others who were with them. Justin says, "that [they] were the ones feeling [their] own sense of disability" and Justin was often times leading the group on the climb.

Here is Justin's message:

"For anyone who has a child with a disability...or for the rest of the culture...to understand the disability is NOT a limitation and is not outside of the scope of God's goodness...the lives of those with disabilities have infinite worth and they can attempt great things...they can be used powerfully to impact their culture and impact the world"

God's goodness indeed!!! Well said!!!

Watch the video. Show it to your students and children. Help Justin share his message with everyone.

 

If you are having trouble viewing, click here.
 

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Lesson Idea:

Again just a thought, teachers feel free to share ideas with us about how you incorporated this video into your lesson and/or classroom. I would love to hear!!!

Teachers could use Eli's story as a model for students in the classroom. His story could be used to provide students with a example of something exceptional that a person with a disability has accomplished.

Ages: 13 & up (Grade 8 to grade 12)

Introduction:

  • Have a short mini lesson on some common (but accurate) characteristics of individuals with Down syndrome. For accurate information click here, here and here. Show the students what is expected of them for the assignment.
  • Show Eli's video to the class
  • Have the students in groups or individually go out and research other people that have accomplished unthinkable or exceptional goals who have a disability of any kind.
  • The assignment could include a written portion
  • The students could do a class presentation about the individual and their disability. This way the rest of the class would have the opportunity to be exposed to and learn about other individuals with disabilities and what each disability highlighted might entail.

Conclusion:

Students could do a self reflection of what they learned. How this assignment may have helped them to be empathetic toward individuals with disabilities? What was the most important lesson they gained from the assignment? Whether or not this assignment helped them to view individuals with disabilities differently?

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I hope this helps even so much as to provide you with just a few helpful links and a video to show your students.

Please let me know if you found this helpful or feel free to share your ideas with us!!!

 

Don't limit Megan...Don't you dare!!!

We are approaching the month of October...  

Down Syndrome Awareness Month!!!

 

Use this resource to launch a unit on special needs or disabilities in your classroom to make Down Syndrome a topic of conversation this month for your students.

 

Resource

HERE IT IS FOLKS!!!!

 

This video NEEDS to be shown in your classroom or to your children!!!

It has a very strong and inspirational message about how people with Down syndrome want and NEED to be treated in the classroom and schools.

This is a video of Megan. She has Down syndrome and a VERY bold and wonderful message to send out about herself and others who also have Down syndrome. This is what she wants the world to know. And she is NOT afraid to say it!!!!

I LOVE HER!!!

 

Click here if having trouble viewing
 

Please don't assume that because your kids go to school with a person that has Down syndrome, or are friends with a person who has it, that they have an accurate understanding of what it means. Actually, I find that it is the opposite. Just because students are all in the same room together doesn't mean that they pay attention to one another.

 

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Lesson Specifics:

I would say this video could be used for any age past 11 or 12 (Grade 6 to grade 12).

It will explain exactly how people with Down syndrome need other students, friends and teacher support in order to reach their full potential. Meagan wants to be fully included in all matters of the classroom and school. She also talks about a mutual respect for everyone with disabilities.

I think that it would be a really easy tool to use to spark conversation and discussion.

Teachers, you know your students best. You could go in so many directions with this video.

I know curriculum is a challenge to get through everyday but PLEASE find some time to show this to your students.

 

I would love to hear how you used this resource. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post to share your ideas or you experiences with this video in your classrooms or homes!!!

 

 

 

Charlie and Isabelle

I'm so excited to be able to post this and start this series on the blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

In honour of a new school year, here is my first attempt at ideas to help to educate our kids. I sincerely hope parents and teachers out there find it useful!!!

Educating Our Kids - Resource #1

 

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Watch this video of Charlie and Isabelle with your children or your classes to try and start a healthy conversation about what it means to have Down syndrome. I think it would be utilized best with younger children, ages 4-7.

If you are in a classroom setting, this video might be a great way to bring up the topic without having to center anybody out.

 

 

Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video
 

Please don't assume that because your kids go to school with a person that has Down syndrome, or are friends with a person who has it, that they have an accurate understanding of what it means. Actually, I find that it is the opposite. Just because students are all in the same room together doesn't mean that they pay attention to one another.

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Suggestions for a lesson plan:

*Teachers out there...you are the professionals. This is just what I have come up with. Hope it helps!

Ages: Primary grades (K-2) or ages 4-7

Major Learning Goal: All children are unique creations and have something different to share. Children with Down syndrome achieve all the same goals that other children achieve but at different times. For example, it might take them a little longer to learn how to read, but they will learn how.

Introduction to lesson:

Have a group discussion with your children or students to assess what their prior knowledge of the subject might be. For example, try to find out if they have ever heard of Down Syndrome (or other special needs) and/or what their experience with it might be (this might be difficult with the really young ones, who may not even realize that other kids are different - which is a beautiful thing - you know them best, you be the judge).

Core Lesson:

Show the video to the students and have another brief discussion about things they noticed about Charlie and Isabelle in the video. What was the same about them? What was different? Did they have fun together?

Activity:

Kindergarten (ages 4-5)

Have the students choose a previously selected colouring picture of an activity they would like to do with Isabelle and Charlie. I have added some printable colouring pics here, here and here, but feel free to use which ever pics suit your students or children best.

Grades 1-2 (ages 6-7)

1. Have the students do a brief journal entry of your choice and an accompanying picture.

2. Have the students pretend a new student has come into their class. This student has Down syndrome. Have them role play healthy ways to welcome this student into the class. Have them come up with activities that they think would make ANY new student feel comfortable.

Conclusion:

Close up the discussion by revisiting the major learning goal. All children are unique and should be treated with respect no matter what. I believe children with Down syndrome (or other special needs) should be included in all activities that the others are included in. This way the teacher is providing solid modeling for the children to imitate.

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Anyway...that's just an idea!

I am writing this both as a mom and a teacher. I am by no means an expert at either and have not had the opportunity to try this in a classroom. I am open to feedback or ideas about how you incorporated this video into your teaching about DS.

Please feel free to share your ideas and experiences in the comments of this post!!!

I think it is important to provide opportunities for all children to be empathic towards each other. We need to try to teach our kids that everyone is different and capable of different things.

Weekend Round Up

This weekend was a lot about waking-up-and-doing-what-felt-right-in-that-moment and a little about rushing-around-to-try-and-be-everywhere. Especially, since Hazel came down with a stomach bug to start the weekend off with a bang. Her first one ever, so I guess I can't complain, but we certainly weren't laughing about this one (unlike the bronchiiiiiiiiiiitis). There was definitely not enough sleep to go around this weekend for any of us, but she is on the mend and is back to her active, loud, happy little self. However, now she is getting both of her eye teeth and one of her bottoms all at the same time. Needless to say she is a little irritable at times.

Looking back at the pics from this weekend, I feel like we still managed to enjoy small moments together as a family and get some visits in as well. Success!!!

 

We had a visit from Nonna, Nonno B and Zia Gina. Just try and tell Hazel she's not going to get her license one day. Good luck to that pour soul.

PicMonkey Collage1

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We made it to the Farmer's Market to grab some treats and then hang in the park.

PicMonkey Collage

 

We made it to the cottage for a visit with family.

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(PS: We get to go here, to this place, anytime we want...Lucky much?)

 

We had time to get the all time BEST photo taken of the 4 girls.

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Her cousins are always up for some Hazel lovin'.

PicMonkey Collage

 

My all time favourite moment. Let me just say the pregnancy hormones are at an all time high around here at the moment. Which means I am either breathing fire or on the verge of tears (or both at the exact same moment - Awesome!). Anyway, there were a few times this weekend that these 2 had me choking back tears. This was one. And the others, I get to store in my memory and keep to myself. I adore these 2. I adore how much they love each other more than anything else.

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Nico. Just because in the 6.5 years that we have had her, her ears have almost NEVER both been up at the same time.

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Lastly, this video is great. Jimmy Fallon, Robin Thicke and The Roots. Instead of listening to Big Parade we listened to and watched this. Amazing what can be done with a bunch of kids toys. Hazel was into it, dancing and carrying on.

I *heart* Jimmy Fallon...sigh

Click here if having trouble viewing
 

Enjoy!!!

Peace & Gratitude

 

"Oh Lawd Jesus There's a Fire"

We have been super lucky with Hazel over the last year, sickness-wise. Yesterday was the first time that we have ever had to bring her to the clinic for a cold or virus. She got a mild cough about a week ago that just seemed like it wasn't going away or getting any better. Hazel was in great spirits, sleeping well and just seemed like herself so we didn't worry. Anyway, we brought her in just to be sure and the doctor said she had bronchitis. No big deal, just some anti-biotic and she will be as good as new.

So, Why am I telling you this?

The reason is that this video that I have posted has completely and utterly made it impossible for me to hear the word "bronchitis" with out giggling out loud, just a bit. If you haven't seen Sweet Brown describe a small local fire at her neighbours house then you need to watch. Her accent, her description, her personality. I LOVE IT ALL!!! She is hilarious.

 

 

Click here if having trouble viewing the video
 

 

Let's just say, when Matt came out from talking to the doctor and he told me she had "Bronchiiiiiiiiiiiitis" in a Sweet Brown accent (after we chuckled), I was glad I wasn't the one who had to keep a straight face with the doctor.

I just want to say that I, in NO way think that a house fire is funny, or anyone who has to deal with bronchitis, or the fact that my daughter has it (I feel for her...really I do). I just really enjoy Sweet Brown's description is all. I hope you get a chuckle out of it as well (not that Hazel has bronchitis - or house fires - or anyone else who has it - but the video - ok - have I said too much?).

 

Ain't nobody got time for that!

 

Feel free to follow us on IG @ Chasing_Hazel.

PicMonkey Collage

 

 

Happy "You talkin' to me?" Friday

This happened and I absolutely had to share it with you.  

It's no secret that Hazel is "vocal" (and by vocal I mean offensive at times). We recorded Hazel with the iPhone so that she could see and hear herself on it at the same time.

As I was watching her interact with herself, I couldn't help but first off be relieved that she doesn't only talk to me like that. And secondly, (becasue of the trainwreck-ed-ness of her hair), I found myself thinking of the scene in "Taxi Driver" where Robert De Niro is giving the "are you talking to me" speech.

Seriously, here is a pic of him:

 

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And here is Hazel:

Try to imagine her going, "you talkin' to me?"  - "What?"  - "You talking to me?"  -  "There's no one else here, so you MUST be talking to ME!?"

 

Click here if having trouble viewing
 

 

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Happiest of Friday's to you all...

 

 

A girls gotta have fun

Here is a video of Hazel and I doing physio. Well, it stared out as physio and ended up just being super fun. She figured out that she can fall to the sides and back without any injury. That and it's a super bouncy landing. Not really the goal while doing physio but, a girls gotta have fun too.

 

Click here if having trouble viewing
 

If we were doing this properly, as a PT activity, I would be bouncing her much slower and moving her around in a circle very slowly. Hazel would be balancing herself by activating her muscles in her stomach and legs. It's a natural reaction for her to try and keep herself upright. It works great for core strengthening.

 

New goal for Chasing Hazel's Facebook page.

47 Chromosomes = 470 "likes"

Don't forget to click here to stop by her page and hit "like" for updates on all the shenanigans Hazel is up to.

 

Thanks for your continued support. Hope this video brings a smile to your Tuesday!

Group Hug Apparel

Do you have your Group Hug Apparel t-shirt yet? a

 

It was such a pleasure to meet Andrew and his mom, Karen. They were selling t-shirts to raise money for a little girl in need of a heart transplant. Hazel instantly fell in love with Andrew. She immediately outstretched her arms to him and was trying to kiss him on the mouth. It was pretty cute.

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Their booth was set up at Colasanti's, a local Tropical Garden. So we went out to get our Group Hug Apparel ON... (literally - we put it on while we were there).

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Part of Andrew's inspiration to sell t-shirts is to help "sick kids." Andrew knows what it's like to have a heart surgery or two and wants to help kids in any way that he can. He says that it is "important to help people."

This video tells a little bit of their story, including a history of why they started Group Hug Apparel. Every time I watch the part where Karen says that she is proud of Andrew, tears well up in my eyes. It is an overwhelming feeling to know that your child can accomplish so much, even though the odds may seem stacked against them. You make us all proud, Andrew!!!

Also, if you have a Group Hug shirt and would like to send me a picture of you wearing it, I would love to post it on the blog. You can send it to chasinghazel27@gmail.com, with the subject line "Group Hug". Also, I know Andrew always wants to see where his shirts ended up. Feel free to jump over to his Facebook page and "like" it and share your pics with him.

Congratulations Andrew on all your accomplishments!!!

 

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Embracing difference is so empowering.

 

Acceptance & Peace...

 

 

 

Little N3lla's Triple Crown

I wanted to share something with my Chasing Hazel family. If you have been reading a while, you might remember my mentioning Kelle Hampton (once or twice, or three times - whatever don't judge me). She has been a huge influence in the Down Syndrome community since the birth of her daughter Nella. Her charisma and passion for raising awareness for individuals with Down Syndrome is admirable.

If you have not yet visited her blog, wait until you have some time, grab a coffee (or whiskey tea - whatever- I won't judge you) and enjoy.

 

For now, Nella is trying to raise money for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Every year for her birthday, Kelle celebrates by reaching out to her readers and asking them to support the cause. Over the past 2 years, they have raised over $200, 000. This year they are at it again with a new goal. They would like to have a grand total of $300,000. Anything helps!!!

 

Click HERE to find out more about how you can help support...

N3lla's Triple Crown

 

Nellas triple crown from ETST on Vimeo.
 

 

Gratitude & Peace

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday!!!

So SORRY for the late post.... In the past, Happy Friday has been about giving you something to look at to make you smile. We try to give you a positive image to start your weekends.

This week we will give you something to listen to. Hopefully this will leave you smiling and ready to celebrate another weekend.

Something for your eyes...

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Here is a little something for your ears...

(There is no image in this video until the end)

Click here if you are having trouble viewing
 

 

Happy Weekend everyone

Love & Peace

 

 

Silver Lining

  When the geneticist sits down and tells you your baby has Down Syndrome, many thoughts go through your mind. Lots of things are said. Doctors and nurses tell you about the "challenges" that may lie ahead.

One of the thoughts, is that your baby will be different from all the other babies. Immediately you think, "woah, 'different' - that can't be good - doesn't sound good."

We all want our babies to be different, unique in a way, but when push comes to shove, not really. We don't want them to be that different. We want them to be the same, and do all the things that every baby does.

Any one of you moms out there that has been on Baby Center - EVER - FOR ANYTHING - knows what I mean. It's fine...no judgements!!! Chasing Hazel is a judge free zone...really...I have no room to judge - TRUST ME!! I digress...

So, I was saying...you find out your kid has Down Syndrome. For a minute (k...so way longer than a minute really) you feel like life as you knew it is over. Long story short (for now), you try to figure out what does it mean for your baby? Will they do all the things other babies do? It's scary and daunting and scary.

 

Here is the silver lining...

Hazel and all other babies like Hazel, will do all the things other babies do. They might work a lot harder to get there, but one day it just happens, they are there. We are blessed to be a part of their journey.

And mama pride!!! Well proud does not even begin to break the barrier of emotions you feel that your baby is different, but also very much the same.

Best of both worlds really.

 

Hazel crawled today...

 

Click here if you are having trouble viewing.
 

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With pride and a happy heart

See you tomorrow

 

 

Adele

This may lead you to believe that we enjoy when Hazel is upset. Just for the record we do not.

It's just that this is so hilarious, and if she wasn't as upset, it wouldn't be as funny as it is.

Hazel has been obsessed with Adele ever since she was new. The older she gets, the more intense the obsession seems to get. Usually it has to be this song. It's not good wnough that its Adele, it has to be Someone Like You.

See for yourself...

 

Click here if having trouble viewing

 

Until....

The family Christmas celebration. We learned that if we all serenaded her with Twinkle Twinkle she would also stop crying.

I think that while this is not only very funny, it is a true testament to the beauty of the people that Hazel gets to call family. All of them willing participants to try and make Hazel smile. There is something so innocent and pure about this memory, Hazel is a lucky girl.

 

 

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We have a goal for Hazel's FB page. We are trying to reach 321 "likes" by March 21, 2013 - World Down Syndrome Day!!! If you are interested, please click on the link, Chasing Hazel and "like" her page. Thanks for the continued support!!!

A very loud girl

I am not sure if she likes this toy or hates it. Either way it's super funny!!! I would turn the volume on the lowest setting if I were you. Enjoy...

 

Click here if you can't see the video
We have a goal for Hazel's FB page. We are trying to reach 321 "likes" by March 21, 2013 - World Down Syndrome Day!!! If you are interested, please click on the link, Chasing Hazel and "like" her page. Thanks for the continued support!!!

Back by popular demand...

Here is the 2nd edition of Hazel dancing. Her moves are still pretty much the same but show a little more conviction than they did in the past. She overheard me listening to this You Tube clip of Zooey Deschanel and Ben Schwartz singing a little duet. Here is her reaction almost every time she hears the song. She is very focused on the song the whole time. Love the tongue!!!

Enjoy!!!

 

Sorry the video is not the best quality...you get the idea.

Click here if you are having trouble viewing
 

 

Here is the video she was watching...

click here if you can't see it.

National Down Syndrome Awareness Week

In Canada, National Down Syndrome Awareness Week started November 1st and goes to the 7th. I found this AMAZING video. Watch it!!!! I'm not even going to be polite about it. It is the one of the BEST videos I have seen so far.

It explains everything perfectly. It includes a great break down and definition of what DS is, and how others can begin to learn about and accept DS into their lives. I love that it is narrated by kids. It is easy to understand for people of all ages. It is 12 minutes long, which is a long one, but it is worth it.

My only critique would be, that not all people with DS are like one of the 3 shown in the video. Not everyone with DS experience the same challenges, everyone is different. I do appreciate how some of the common challenges are highlighted and explained, so that we can empathize with these challenges.

Use it in your classrooms, in your homes, in your break room. Use it where ever you think it will make a difference.

 

 

Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video

Community Outreach

October blew by us so fast, my head is still spinning!!! I have some posts left over that I really wanted to get out for DS Awareness month. However, although this blog seeks to raise awareness about DS, it is about Hazel first. She is a baby first, and I a mommy. Things like birthdays and Halloween could not be put on the back burner. Here is one of the posts I was hoping to get out...

 

Hazel and I visited her big cousin Stella's classroom to raise awareness in our community about Down Syndrome. Most of our schools are very proud to offer full inclusion for all special needs children.

Hazel was very well received by all the children and the staff. It was great to be able to explain a little bit about what having Down Syndrome means to the grade 4 students. Although, they have students in the school with t21, some of them did not understand what the syndrome actually meant for that person.

When the Q & A was opened up, the students were eager to share stories about the things that they did know about DS. A common theme that the children were unsure of was the difference between Autism and DS. The teacher and I tried our best to differentiate between the 2, but it is very important that the teaching and education go on in the home.

Please feel free to use either of these videos as a conversation starter with your children. For more information on DS you can visit this page as well.

I found this video on Autism. I hope these videos help your children to understand and relate to other children in their schools that may have Down Syndrome or Autism.

This was the speech Stella wrote to introduce Hazel to her class and teach them a little something about Down Syndrome. We had a separate recording session so that she was loud and clear.

 

                                                     Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video.

Stella also brought this video to my attention. She thought that it may help others to see how beautiful people with DS can be.

Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video

On Blueberry Hill

We were bored of eating blueberries one day so here is what happened... We PLAYED with them!!! Hazel painted her first picture. She did her first craft. She's growing so fast.

I must confess, this idea was conjured over Thanksgiving dinner. My Aunt, an accomplished artist at Turtle Dove Designs, noticed that Hazel was finger painting with a tiny bit of water that I poured on her highchair tray. My Aunt didn't hesitate to offer her services as Hazel's personal art teacher. After seeing this, Hazel seems she is going to want to start sooner than later. Hope you are ready Zia Kim!!!

Hazel loved the feel of the water on her finger tips. She enjoyed the fact that she could spread it and push it around where ever she wanted. It kept her entertained for quite a while. So, I thought why not let her actually paint with some blueberries?

Here is what happened...

 

 

Daddy came home when we were just finishing up. Hazel was very proud of herself!!!

The video is over 2 minutes. It gets really funny when Matt comes home, about a minute in...enjoy!!!

 

Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video.