Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March is a Time to Celebrate!

March is a month to celebrate at our house. One of the most important dates we celebrate is Ben's Birthday. It is hard to believe that Ben is going to be 4 years old on March 20th. We really appreciate all the love and support that our local communities have given to our family.

When we first got Ben’s diagnosis of Down syndrome, we were worried about him being accepted and having friends. Those fears were soon put to rest as we attended community events. He is welcomed with smiles, high fives or waves wherever we go and Ben is usually more than happy to return the gesture. While we have been blessed with such great community support, not everyone is so lucky.

We would like to invite everyone to help us celebrate Ben’s Birthday by standing up for all individuals with intellectual disabilities. Wednesday March 7, 2012 is an important day that has been designated by the Special Olympics organization as Spread the Word to End the Word Day.

Spread the Word to End the Word is an on-going effort to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word "retard(ed)" and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word. The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at  http://r-word.org/ and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We’re asking every person - young and old - to help eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word–a common taunt used to make fun of others. Often unwittingly, the word is used to denote behavior that is clumsy, hapless, and even hopeless. But whether intentional or not, the word conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It hurts. Even if you don’t mean it that way.  If you pledge to Spread the Word to End the word in honor of Ben, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

 World Down Syndrome Day
Another important event this month is World Down Syndrome Day.   The date was selected by Down Syndrome International (DSI) to signify the uniqueness of Down syndrome in the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome and is used synonymously with Down syndrome. 
21 March 2012 marks the 7th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and for the first time in 2012 this day will be officially observed by the United Nations.  The voice of those with Down syndrome, and those who love them is getting louder.  Can you hear us? 

 Thank you for your continued support, and for helping us to celebrate during this exciting month of March!