The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

World Down Syndrome Day

Today (or rather the few minutes remaining of it as I type this) is March 21st, or World Down Syndrome Day. DS is a chromosomal trait whereby the 21st pair of chromosomes in each cell is in fact a triplet. DS is also known as Trisomy 21 for this reason.

And so, with the numbers 3 and 21 being rather significant, World Down Syndrome Day is held on the 21st day of the 3rd month each year.

For those who know us personally, or have followed my blog for a while, you will know already that my daughter, Meg, has DS. And for those of you who didn’t know, well, you do now. Feel free to click here or on the Down’s Syndrome label on my sidebar in the section “Find your favourite topics” (now on the left column of this blog, until I decide to redesign it again) for more information, or ask me questions in the comments if you have any.

Meg is in mainstream education. She goes to the local high school, where she attends most of the classes other children of her age go to. In some classes she is more or less keeping up, in others she goes at her own pace with the help of a support assistant. There are a couple of classes she doesn’t attend, but is involved in separate activities in the Support Unit to help develop areas she might have difficulties in.

So, given the date, I thought it might be worth mentioning we recently received Meg’s first High School Pupil Report.

In every single subject she does, whether it is Art, Science, Home Economics or IT she has received the same grade for both Effort and Behaviour – “Excellent” – the highest possible.

The report is full of quotes such as, “I wish more pupils we like her as it would make my life a lot easier” (Information Technology); “Meg is a delightful girl to have in the class and always gives her best” (Music); “...she has made a positive contribution to the class” (Mathematics).

What is clear about Meg is, whatever subject she is engaged in and at whatever level, she does her best.

As I have tried to impress on my son many times, the difference between the minimum we can get away with, and the maximum we are capable of, can be vast. The effort we put into things determines not whether we necessarily succeed or not in the task, but is a reflection of who we are as people and how we will face the world.

Meg faces the world by doing her best.

And I couldn’t be more proud.


Pat said...

So you should be. I am delighted she is doing so well. You have two wonderful children who are blessed with loving parents.
Kisses and hugs all round.

mapstew said...

And you have every reason to be proud, both you & Maggie! And well done to Meg on her excellent reports!

(Hope ye had a wonderful break!) :¬)

debra said...

Kudos to all of you!

Ponita in Real Life said...

It's fantastic to hear that Meg is doing so well in school! She is an inspiration to all. You're so very right to be exceptionally proud of your daughter!!

Having a 'disability' isn't necessarily a drawback, is it? It may change the approach to some things, but the willingness to excel to the best of one's abilities is really all that is important. Well done, Meg!!!

angryparsnip said...

What a truly wonderful post today.
Congratulations to Meg and your family.

cheers, parsnip

Carole said...

Good stuff.

Roschelle said...

She's a beautiful girl!! Thanks for getting the word out there. I had no idea there was a World Down Syndrome Day. Will be sharing on FB and Twitter :)

Attila The Mom said...

Woohoo Meg!

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I always enjoy visiting here...

Common Cents

hope said...

Ever photo you take of Meg, there is this all knowing smile that appears in her eyes. It's because she knows life's secret: you get out of life what you put into it.

Standing Ovation for Meg! (And a pat on the back to her parents). ;)

Jayne Martin said...

You set a fine example for your kids. They're lucky to have such a wise papa. Congrats to Meg. No teacher ever said such nice things about me in high school.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Would you believe, there was a time when some parents [in the Caribbean island where I once lived / worked] would lock away their children with Down Syndrome. I hope it doesn't happen any more. I did some programmes for tv to educated the public when I was there.

It's wonderful that parents like you speak up, speak out for children like Meg.

TalesNTypos said...

Gorgeous post Kim. Me so proud too.

Ron said...

Congratulations to you and your family Kim for providing such a loving and caring environment for Meg to thrive. I wish you and your family continued happiness and success.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - thank you :)

Mapstew - thank you, and yes we had a great break :)

Debra - thank you :)

Ponita - I've always felt the kind of person someone is, is far more important than their academic achievements :)

Parsnip - thank you :)

Carole - :)

Roschelle - life is a learning experience:)

Attila - :)

Steve - can't work out if you're just a spammer. Will see if you comment again.

Hope - thank you :)

Jayne - I didn't get such nice comments either

Guyana-Gyal - there was a time when that happened in the UK too, and is still going on in some places :(

Adila - thank you :)

Ron - thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Was heartwarming to read and know this. I especially liked the last few sentences.

Guyana-Gyal said...


Locking away a child in a room at home, or in an institution away from could anyone think that's good?

Mary Witzl said...

I love this sentence: "Meg faces the world by doing her best." You hear a lot of parents say that all they want is for their kids to be happy. Which is a given, but personally, I want a lot more for my kids. I want them to be good human beings, and I want them to do their best.

You've got your priorities right and so does Meg.

Falak said...

The last part of this post is so true.Congratulations to Meg! Congrats to both you and Maggie!

Kim Ayres said...

Allen - thank you :)

Guyana-Gyal - it's heartbreaking :(

Mary - somewhere recently (I can't remember where), I read a quote which said, more or less, that when we are young we respect achievement, but when we get older, we respect kindness a great deal more

Falak - thank you :)

Mimi and Tilly said...

Well done Meg for an excellent school report!

I was a teacher for 13 years Kim, and one of the things I often saw was that children who had parents who understood how to love their children well, were usually comfortable with themselves, rooted in their own talents and willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones and into new versions of themselves. They somehow understood, it wasn't so much about what they achieved but who they were while they were doing it, because they were loved and accepted for who they were as individuals.

From what I read here on your blog it seems Meg has learned everything she needs to know from you and Maggie and is putting it all into practice for herself.

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you for your kind words, Emma :)

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