Monday, March 21, 2011
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.