October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and as a parent whose daughter has this condition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a bit about Molly and how travel has helped her blossom.
We learned of Molly’s diagnosis on June 24, 2010, the day after she was born. The news came as a total shock to us, as I had a one in 851 chance of a having a child with Down syndrome. At the time, our life came to a screeching halt filled with questions and uncertainties.
Would she ever walk by herself? Feed herself? Would she talk? How would our friends and family take this news? How would this impact our family’s quality of life? Would it keep us from traveling?
So many questions… and honestly, doctors always erred on the side of caution telling us that it was a strong possibility that she’d never do any of those things. But, oh were they wrong!
Molly is a thriving, six-year old that attends a traditional elementary school, loves traveling and meeting new people (She’s a hugger)! Watching her discover new places overwhelms me – her joy and excitement is contagious.
Travel exposes each of us to new experiences and people — and ultimately, that’s what helps us grow. Just because Molly has Down syndrome doesn’t mean she should be limited in her experiences. As her mom, I want Molly to experience things that every other child her age does. From swimming at the pool, to dancing the night away on the dance floor (which she does often) and exploring – I want Molly to do it all.
At times, we’ve had to tweak our traveling schedule or activities — but never has it meant that we wouldn’t travel. I see traveling as a way to expose Molly to new experiences, new people and it allows her to interact with others. Travel is a learning experience.
And most of all — traveling allows others to see people with special needs enjoying the same experiences as *typical* individuals. When those around us are exposed to individuals with special needs — it creates a time of interaction with others. And it often sparks conversations with strangers wanting to share their connection with the special needs community — or just learn more about Molly.
Travel is a constant factor in all of our lives. It makes no difference whether you have an extra chromosome or not. I’m excited to see where our future travels take us and I’m thankful to see the world through her eyes in the years to come too!
What Are Your Thoughts?