"The Disability is Not a Limitation"

  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.



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)


  • 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.


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?



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!!!


A Simple Game for Teachers & Parents

I know a lot of teachers are just going back from holiday break. Also, parents at home are getting routines established and trying to settle in after the holidays. Here is a quick easy resource for you to use to keep the teaching and learning easy...I hope.  


I came across a blog called "Colorado Moms" that has a section devoted to Special Needs. As I was skimming through, I happened to see a really helpful post about a really easy tool that can be used in a classroom or at home with a child with special needs.

Connect 4




Here is an excerpt from the post on Colorodo Moms:

"I am a pediatric Occupational Therapist who works with the birth-three population in their home environment. A big part of my job is to educate parents on which toys or games are good for their child to facilitate developmental skills. I would like to take this opportunity to share a couple of my personal favorite “therapy tools” that I utilize frequently in my therapy sessions.

Connect Four – What a fantastic game Connect Four is! I use it with children as young as one and have also used it with children as old as 8. Connect Four is a great game to work on fine motor development to target the following skills:"

1) grasping patterns 2) functional release 3) eye-hand coordination 4) visual-perceptual skills 5) language/social-development


Please check out and read the rest of the post on how you can use "Connect 4" with your kids, here on Colorado Moms.

This post goes on to explain in detail each category that I posted above. It seems super easy to use and it helps to develop some really important skills.


Please let me know if this resource was helpful for you!!!


Melissa Riggio Shares Her Thoughts


Here is an excerpt from an article from the National Geographic Kids website. Melissa Riggio is sharing her thoughts about what it is like to have Down syndrome. She is very honest and mature in the way that she describes what her life is like and what her dreams are. She says,

"I can’t change that I have Down syndrome, but one thing I would change is how people think of me. I’d tell them: Judge me as a whole person, not just the person you see. Treat me with respect, and accept me for who I am. Most important, just be my friend.

After all, I would do the same for you."

Please read the the rest of the article here.




This article could be incorporated into a lesson in so many ways. I will leave it to you to decide how you will use this. It could be as simple as...

1. Reading the article independently and doing a journal reflection

2. The teacher could read the article and have a class discussion

3. Could be used in center work or even as guided reading material


I am sure you all will come up with more innovative ideas than that but I thought I would put it out there. And as always....

Please feel free to share how you used this resource in your classrooms and/or homes and also tell us how your students reacted to Melissa's story.



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.





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!!!!



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.



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



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.



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?


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.


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.


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.

It's the small things

I have so many posts to get up at the moment, but I feel that this interaction between a publishing company and myself needs to be shared with all of you. If you follow us on Facebook you may have seen this interaction take place. If you are not following us on Facebook, what are you waiting for?! Head on over and "like" Chasing Hazel's page, here.  


Plus, it allows me an opportunity to mention a new series I am thinking about introducing on the blog. I would LOVE your feedback.


This new series would include:

A section all on its own dedicated to educating parents, teachers, children and anyone that may be interested about Down syndrome. Mainly, the goal will be to try and provide resources that are helpful for parents and teachers to educate other children about what it means to have Down syndrome.


What brought this on?

I have been noticing that children, even those that go to school with someone who has DS, tend to have questions about Hazel. Questions about why she looks different than them, or they wonder if she will ever learn to read and so on. It sparked some interest and concern as to what Hazel's peers REALLY know about Down syndrome. I decided that I would try to help in whatever way that I could. Admittedly, I did not know a great deal about Down syndrome before Hazel, aside from my own teaching experiences. So I can understand where that disconnect might occur.


I would say that the most important thing is to recognize each child as an individual. I think sometimes kids who go to school with other kids who have DS, think that ALL kids who have DS are the same. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Just as typically developing children all achieve goals when they are ready, or have unique strengths and weaknesses, so do children with DS. I hope that when Hazel goes to school, her peers understand that just because she might not be able to do the same things as them at that time, it doesn't mean she will NEVER learn to do it. Like all kids, kids with DS achieve goals at their own pace and when they are ready.




Recently, I was doing some research for online resources to add to this series. I came across a book called, "My Friend Has Down Syndrome." Great!!! Excited, I quickly wanted to read the description of the book. Needless to say I was very upset with what I found. It said:

"My Friend Has Down Syndrome describes a condition that affects many families. Younger children are normally puzzled when they encounter other kids who suffer from Down Syndrome. Here is a heartwarming and reassuring story of how an ordinary child comes to understand and befriend another child who has Down Syndrome."

Immediately, I emailed the publisher to express my concern for such a negative and inaccurate statement about children and families with DS. This description was on all websites that sell this book (big names). I felt it was sending a VERY false message to those looking to learn about DS and thought I would see what I could do.

The company was very apologetic and were also very willing to change the description right away. The new description for the book is now as follows:

My Friend Has Down Syndrome explores this common chromosomal condition from a child's perspective. Younger children may be confused and have many questions when they encounter kids who have Down syndrome. Here, in this reassuring story, two children, one with Down syndrome and one without, learn that they are both good at different things and that by helping each other overcome their fears and difficulties they can accomplish a great deal together.

So much better!!!

So really it is the small things, that contribute to the bigger issues that perpetuate stereotypes about Down syndrome. I was happy to try in one small little way to help society become more accepting of those who might be a little different. Can you please try to do the same. Chasing Hazel readers have always been so supportive and accepting of all that DS has to offer. Collectively, we need to try to reach those who do not know the beauty and blessings of DS. Please help Hazel by sharing this on your social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.




So I am interested to hear what you all think? Please leave a comment and tell me if there is anything you would like me to add to this series, helpful resources you might have found or things you have noticed that you would like to see addressed. Please share with me how you educate your children. Perhaps, some ideas that have worked for you and your families.

Calling other Mamas!!!

Other mamas that have kids with DS, please feel free to weigh in here. I would love to hear from you! Do you think this is necessary? What would you like others to know about your children? If you don't feel comfy leaving a comment, you can always e-mail me.