There are some photos. They aren't great but, at the very least, they prove we were there. We very much enjoyed our experience as guest speakers in this class at the University of Windsor. It was a great platform for us to further raise awareness and educate others about people with Down Syndrome. Now...I will tell you all what I told them, a disclaimer of sorts (I believe there were a few disclaimers before the chat started):
I am by no means an expert on Down Syndrome, I am only an expert on Hazel. We set forth to share information that could be helpful to those who are interested in learning more about DS. This information is solely based on our personal experiences with Hazel, and what we have learned so far.
The students were very interested to hear about some of the challenges Hazel has had to face with her health. After elaborating on Duodenal Atresia and her VSD, SHOCKED is a more accurate description of some of the facial expressions I saw as I scanned the crowd.
We went on to discuss the milestones that she has mastered and the ones she is working on next. More importantly, we talked about their futures. The future doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses, teachers and where ever else the wind may blow for these students. We tried our best to give an accurate description of what we expect as parents in any of these fields when dealing with a baby that has special needs.
We tried to create an environment of empathy and compassion, hope and positivity. All qualities that are important to me as Hazel’s mom. These are all qualities that Hazel’s therapists have. We went through some specifics about Hazel’s therapy.
We tried to foster thinking “outside-the-box” and being “open-minded”, when assessing a child that is a little different. Not all children with DS are the same and accomplish the same things at the same time. Just as with any child.
We cautioned the consumption of negative information about DS that can be found on the Internet. I tried to give some positive, helpful resources to help them to educate themselves and others.
I explained OUR role in the DS world – to ADVOCATE and EDUCATE and ultimately, aid in societal ACCEPTANCE!!!
I have to share 1 part of the presentation here with you all. You are all such faithful, loyal, accepting supporters of Hazel. You will SO get this about her…
(this is actually on the PowerPoint presentation)
So…Is our girl WEAK?
- Down Syndrome
- Surgery at 28 hours old
- Failure to thrive
- Congestive heart failure
- Open heart surgery at 5 months old
Low muscle tone maybe…but WEAK is not in her genes!!!
Thank you so much Professor Martindale for providing and allowing the opportunity to celebrate our daughter and educate those that may just be part of her successes in the future.
Grateful for this experience,
Enjoy your Monday