October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. Many cities across the country celebrate this with a Buddy Walk.This year in Houston, because of Hurricane Harvey, the Down syndrome group we belong to canceled our walk. Although we were blessed with no hurricane damage, there were nine families from our group who were flooded out of their homes. The outpouring of love and gift cards that came their way was amazing. That is the truly wonderful thing about Down syndrome support groups. We are a family. When we get together our kids go from being “different” to just one of the gang. Our group has classes and events for infants all the way to my son’s group, the adults. Last year on National Down Syndrome Day (March 21 for Trisomy 21) we had a sock hop and my son won Sock King. That’s right. Pulled out his Captain America socks that had little capes on the back. Winner, winner chicken dinner.
I created the character of Danny in my Pecan Bayou Series because people with Down syndrome are a big part of my life. I couldn’t imagine a world without them. Although I love Danny, my son is nothing like him. Danny is a composite of many Down syndrome people I have met over the years. Many times when we are out in public, my son gets his share of stares. He is nonverbal and yet very loud. He has to wear a helmet most of the time because of seizures. We are quite a sight. Even though being different can be unnerving to some people, we love it when they say hello or smile. We also understand why some folks shy away. It’s a lot to take in.
Smiles and hugs to all my DS buddies out there. God bless.