“There’s no greater disability in society,
than the inability to see a person as more.”
-Robert M. Hansel
On World Down Syndrome Day, I dedicate this blog not just to Ian, but to all of those individuals with different abilities who teach us more than we could ever teach them. The world is a better place because of all of you.
Thank you to all of the friends, teachers and personal care assistants (PCAs) who shared what they have learned from Ian, and how he has inspired each and every one of them.
These accolades for Ian not only highlight how he has impacted those in his life, but how all people with disabilities have unique gifts only they can share with those around them. We simply need to give them the chance to shine.
If you know someone with Down syndrome or any special needs, reach out – in any way – to say how much you value him/her as a person. It would mean a lot to us.
Ian loves looking at pictures, so I created this special video for him and I thought I would share it with all of you.
All I really need to know I learned from
This is Ian’s version of the well-known book that highlights the simple ideas we should adopt, in this case from Ian, and apply to our lives as adults.
♥ Use your imagination
♥ Anything is possible
♥ Celebrate even small accomplishments
♥ Enjoy the little things in life
♥ Be silly
♥ Embarrass yourself
♥ Raise the bar
♥ Just have fun
♥ Never quit
♥ Focus on the good things
♥ March to your own drum
“I am forever thankful for that boy. Ian has taught me more patience than I never knew I had. He taught me it’s ok to embarrass yourself, it’s ok to sound silly, be silly, and to use my imagination! He taught me not to quit or give up but to find different ways of learning or doing anything. He also taught me to take a breath and just have fun!!”
“I think it’s safe to say I learn a lot from all of the children I work with–past and present. It definitely seems cliche to say that Ian has taught me to enjoy the little moments and celebrate the small things. Progress can’t always be quantifiably measured; sometimes, we simply need to celebrate the lessons learned through the first simple sincere apology or the first time a typically developing child asks our children to play a game or be on their team. Ian reminds me to smile and be silly often.”
“Through hanging out with Ian he has taught me how to enjoy the little things in life as well using your imagination. He has also made me realize the importance of empathy and communication. I have become a lot more aware of how those two things can enhance the relationships you have with people in your life. And definitely being thankful for parenting and appreciative of my parents.”
“If Ian can do these things that he is not ‘expected’ to do, then so can I. I can push myself outside of my boundaries to achieve my goals. I can move beyond my expected limitations.”
“Inspiring. After knowing Ian for all 13 years of his life this word fits him perfectly. His personality makes anyone think, “I can do it”. The first time I experienced this was watching him run cross country. He may not have been the fastest kid who ran the entirety of the race but watching him cross the finish line was one of the most inspiring things I have seen. Nothing can stop that boy from doing anything he sets his mind to in sports and life.”
“Ian reminds me how important the little things are in life and to celebrate each accomplishment no matter how big or small. Ian has impacted the way that I view goals and how we can do anything we set our mind to, no matter how impossible it seems or what others may think. He pushed me to grow in areas that I would not have without him such as being assertive and standing my ground.”
“I have learned to slow down and not take such little things for granted. I’ve learned that my problems are so small, and if my buddy Ian can get through a tough day with a smile, so can I.”
“Ian has also taught me that even in my own job, I can be both a teacher as well as a student. Ian had a creative and quirky approach to obstacles and events that would have never occurred to me. This willingness to forgo norms often made our time together more interesting, and truthfully, much more fun. Working with Ian definitely helped me gain a sense of confidence and independence that I would not have had we never met. Ian has certainly inspired me to march to the beat of my own drum, loud and proud.”
“Ian has definitely had a huge impact on all of my students at Augsburg University. They understand that it’s truly a tag team effort (Lisa, Chad and Grace) at home. Everybody has their role, time and place to be in Ian’s corner. They also learn to have high expectations for all students they will be teaching and to not put labels and/or limitations on any student.”
“I have learned that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, and I have learned that life is about focusing on the good things.”
“Ian taught me how to appreciate all the small things that can get overlooked. Ian is always in the present. He takes the moments as they come and it was the best lesson I ever learned.”
“Ian has many ideas that seem crazy or don’t make sense to typical people. But he rarely believes things are impossible, which is a point of view we need to value and challenge ourselves with. In a recent example, Ian wanted lemon sherbet, but there was none and his efforts to get Lisa and Chad to drive him to get it, late at night, were failing. So he asked if he could get out the vanilla ice cream in the freezer and squirt lemon juice over the top. All the adults in the room cringed at this “bad idea,” and knew that the result would not resemble lemon sherbet and Ian would not like it. His request was refused. In retrospect, we should have let him do it, and now we are all curious what it would taste like.”
Happy World Down Syndrome Day to all!