Why DS Awareness Month is Important to Me

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month and it’s also Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM).

While my daughter is only 3 years old, I often peek into what her future could look like as an individual with Down syndrome: will she be independent? Will she want to go to university? What will her interests be? Will she want to have a job? If so, what sector? How will our perceptions of disability change by the time she is out in the world, out of my protective arms? The questions never stop – with any kiddo!

At the start of the pandemic, since I was such a new mama and just getting to know what Down syndrome is and with everything being shut, I felt both absolutely alone and thankful for the space in which I could get to know my daughter. One of the resources I turned to which helped IMMENSELY was The LowDOWN Podcast – Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (dsrf.org). For a first-person account, I went to T21Mom.com (podbean.com). From there, I went everywhere. My world opened up despite everything being closed down.

I’ve also looked to the world of Instagram to find and connect with other families who are learning and growing as my family and I are! One account that has been SO INSPIRING to me is Nao

I invite YOU to share too! What are your favorite resources? Things are opening up again – what are your favorite groups and spots? What would you like to see more or start doing?

~Jacquie Dymianiw

Right now, I can see that things are changing in the world of employment; perspectives, concepts, language, motivation. A shift has occurred and that brings me hope that by the time my daughter shares with me that she’d like to seek employment, the worldview of disability would be such that the terms “disability” and “accommodation” will have ceased to exist. My most ideal vision is that all colonial terms/concepts which have shaped our systems (and thereby having shaped us as individuals) will have been made history.

Down syndrome Awareness Month is important to me because Down syndrome is not something to fear, it is something to revere! When I look into my daughter’s face – looking into her eyes is like peering into the vastness of the universe – I know with every cell in MY body that this world is better because she is here. I can say with full honesty and belief that I am a better person since having met my daughter. I am proud to advocate for her and happy to share my experiences of and information about DS with my community and anyone who will listen!