National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month!!!! This is something that is very close to my heart and I had to share. I didn't realize Down syndrome even had a national awareness month until I started teaching in NC and working with students with Down syndrome. Ever since then my life has been changed! I work in a life skills inclusion program where students with disabilities are in an inclusion classroom (classroom with their non-disabled peers) as opposed to a self-contained classroom (classroom with only peers with disabilities). I absolutely love my job and can't imagine doing anything else. I feel so spoiled and am fortunate to love going there everyday. It's one of those jobs that doesn't feel like work. The best kind of job!

As I was researching ways to bring awareness to Down syndrome, I found this amazing video by filmmaker Isaac Alongi. Just Like You - Down Syndrome video introduces three kids living with Down syndrome and shares their personal stories. Alongi made the video to help viewers better understand Down syndrome and why these kids wish to be treated just like anyone else.  Working in an inclusion program, I see this everyday. It's my job to make the curriculum accessible for my students, but the social part is pretty much on their own. I can't tell you how amazing this program is for both the students with disabilities and the students without. Every single one of them learns from this experience and it makes me so happy to facilitate those interactions and watch relationships grow. Seriously, my job is amazing! This video is spot on, "Understanding makes it easier to accept." The more you understand, the less people with disabilities seem different, and are in turn less likely to be treated differently.

How can you help?

Donate or volunteer at a National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Buddy Walk! According to the NDSS, "The Buddy Walk was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome."  The Down Syndrome Network of Greater Greensboro is having their Buddy Walk October 17th! Go here to find a Buddy Walk near you!

Get stylish! Pure Vida Bracelets are handmade in Costa Rica. They have a "Charity Collection" and give back to charities all over the world, including Down syndrome Awareness. The bracelets are only $5 and right now they're even doing 10% off your first purchase PLUS free shipping on all US orders! Find out more information on Pure Vida Bracelets here.  A teacher-friend of mine gave me this one for Christmas last year and I love it!

Let's all help to raise awareness and promote acceptance!

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