Saturday, March 31, 2012

Not welcome?

Outrage as sister with Down syndrome barred from Canada

Immigration to a new country.  A chance to live your dreams?  A chance for new beginnings?  A chance for a better life?  

Should someone be denied immigration due to a disability?  Well, it is happening in Canada.

Slideshow image

What are your thoughts?

Date: Friday Mar. 30, 2012 7:25 PM PT
A Vancouver man is alleging that immigration officials discriminate against people with Down syndrome after an application to sponsor his family was denied when authorities ruled his sister would be a burden on the system.
Accountant Kevin Patel applied to sponsor the immigration of his parents and 27-year-old sister Aditi from India five years ago, but received a rejection last summer. Immigration Canada explained that Aditi would, "cause excessive demand on health or social services in Canada."
Patel said he was "shocked and appalled" by the decision.
"For the Canadian government and the visa officers in New Delhi in India to make such a rejection based on their presumptions about Down syndrome is completely unacceptable," he told reporters Friday.
Patel said his sister requires no medical care and is completely self-sufficient.
"We've provided every evidence there is that we can support her, we are willing to support her, because such a demand has been placed on us by the Canadian government," he said.
Don Davies, the NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway, is calling for the federal government to reverse the decsion.
"The only conclusion we can draw is that because she has Down syndrome, she was rendered inadmissible," he said.
Under Canadian health care laws, a person with Aditi's IQ of 65 has to receive life skills training, at about $60,000 over five years. According to Immigration Canada, Patel did not provide the requested plan on how he would pay for his sister's needs.
An Immigration Canada spokesperson told CTV News that Aditi's parents "claimed they had never received social services in India for their daughter, even though she had received vocational training from a charitable trust."
Patels claims his sister's vocational training was paid for, and he saw no need to present immigration authorities with plan to care for her because he believes his income is proof enough.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jina You

Be gentle.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Super Hero!

How cool is this?  A differently-abled SUPER HERO!  Read on so meet The Silver Scorpion.........


iquid Comics and the Open Hands Initiative, a U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to public diplomacy efforts, announced today the launch of a new comic book that will introduce children around the world to the Silver Scorpion, an Arab teenager who loses his legs in a tragic accident, but whose powers- his creators hope- include the ability to help build bridges between the youth of America and the Arab world, starting with Syria.
The first issue of the Silver Scorpion will be given away free across comic book retailers in the United States this Saturday May 7th as part of "Free Comic Book Day." In addition, a digital edition of Silver Scorpion is also now available for free on the home page of where it can be read online and through iPad devices, as well as shared with friends through Facebook and Twitter. A larger, magazine-sized collector version of the first issue is also available for order via HP's Magcloud print on demand service.
Silver Scorpion is more than just a new superhero; it represents a unique breakthrough in U.S. public diplomacy efforts at a crucial juncture in the relationship between America and the Arab world. As President Bill Clinton highlighted at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, the Silver Scorpion "will help to establish trust and understanding between cultures, to empower young people with disabilities."
"As the Arab world is undergoing historic and transformative changes, the American people can, and should, play an important role in strengthening and deepening the relationships between the people of our two cultures," said Jay T Snyder, American businessman and Co-Founder and Chairman of the Open Hands Initiative. "This comic book is an act of public diplomacy, a gift from the young people of America and Syria to the world."
"Disability is an issue that connects all people, no matter their race or religion or country," said Dr. Valerie Karr, a Contributing Editor to the Comic and a specialist on disability. "A dedication to the rights of people with disabilities is the most fundamental expression of shared values one can find. The Silver Scorpion is the embodiment of those values."
In August 2010, Liquid Comics joined the Open Hands Initiative to take a group of American youths with disabilities to Damascus, where they met with a group of young Syrian counterparts at the first-ever international "Youth Ability Summit". In workshops led by Liquid Comics and disability experts from the Victor Pineda Foundation, the children were asked to work together to create an original superhero that reflected their cross-cultural values and ideals as well as the challenges of living with a disability. By the end of the summit, the wheelchair-bound character of the Silver Scorpion was born.
The Silver Scorpion tells the story of an Arabic teenager, Bashir Bari, who loses his legs in a tragic accident. Consumed with anger and grief, Bashir retreats into a world of isolation, resentful of the pitiful looks and whispers of strangers. When he accidentally witnesses the murder of Tarek, a mysterious local metalsmith, Bashir is unwittingly chosen as the new guardian of an ancient power that has remained hidden for centuries. With new abilities allowing him to manipulate the metal around him, Bashir must rise above his personal grief and use this newfound gift to protect the world, while learning firsthand to embrace the values of tolerance and cooperation to achieve great heights. Liquid Comics worked with leading comic book talents Ron Marz and Mukesh Singh to help take the ideas of the youth participants and turn them into an exciting comic book story.
Liquid Comics Co-Founder & CEO Sharad Devarajan says the Silver Scorpion's superpowers go even further. "Our hope is that the Silver Scorpion will also be a positive role model to increase a dialogue and tear down some of the divisive political and social rhetoric between the West and the Arab region. Great superheroes have always been allegories to larger societal issues in the world. The bigger story of our generation is the story of globalization and our ability to overcome our regional and cultural differences to find our common humanity. While I hope people enjoy the adventures of Bashir and his transformation into the Silver Scorpion, for me, the more exciting story is how this comic book was created- from the minds of two very different groups of extraordinary youths who speak to the very best of globalization in the years ahead."
Snyder added, "What is truly amazing about this comic book is not just that it features a disabled superhero as the main character, but that it was inspired by youths who came from the United States and Syria. They had never met before. They spoke different languages. They had different cultures and backgrounds. Yet still, they found common ground through their creativity, and have given the world a character that transcends their differences."
The ten American children who participated in the Youth Ability Summit that led to the creation of the "Silver Scorpion" say Bashir is the character they'd longed to see on the pages of a comic book. "The Silver Scorpion illustrates that no matter if you are in Damascus or Des Moines, at the end of the day, we all share the same hopes and dreams," said Sarah Funes, a teenager from South San Francisco, California. "Creating this comic has united our small group from two different worlds forever as part of a unique community, and we cannot wait to share our experiences and creation with the world."
Syrian students who took part in the summit said that the collaboration with American children was life-changing. "It made me feel that I have to improve my life," said Abdulrahman Hussein, who wants to learn English so he can meet more people and better communicate with his new American friends.
"We hope the character also teaches children with disabilities to overcome the perception of their disability as a weakness, and instead find empowerment and pride in who they are, regardless of their differences," added Devarajan.
In addition to the US release, 50,000 copies of the Silver Scorpion in Arabic will also be distributed for free to schools and youth centers within Syria, as well as in various countries throughout the region. The comic series will feature additional issues and superheroes in the coming months, including female and western heroes, who will interact and engage with the Silver Scorpion as he seeks to defeat a mysterious evil.
Please visit for more information on how to locate a comic book retailer near you to get a free copy of Silver Scorpion. Digital editions of Silver Scorpion are available to read for free online and people can also order a "Print-on-Demand" collector's edition of Silver Scorpion to be mailed to them at

Be gentle.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome to Holland

When I have doubts or worries about helping my child grow up and move into young adulthood, I try to remember this lovely story written by a Mom of a child with Down Syndrome.  As a parent, we are all on a journey.  But when that journey goes down a path that we had not expected, how are we supposed to react?  Take care of our special child needs?  How can we handle all this? As parents, we really all are on the same journey, just some of us are heading to a difference destination.  And that is OK.  It is a beautiful and special destination.  And I am blessed to be traveling this path.


Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Be gentle.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Family time

This last weekend we took some special family time.  My guys love bowling so we took a trip to the local alley.  Great time had by all!

Be gentle.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too old for high school basketball teen?

A young man in Michigan is not being allowed to compete his senior year in high school because he is 19.  He started school a year late due to delays in his development.  He just happens to rock an extra chromosome.  My son, Davey, is also a basketball player.  If he decides to go out for the high school team, should he be penalized for also rocking an extra chromosome?  Should the rules be changed or an exception be made for folk with disabilities?  

What are your thoughts?

A Michigan community is up in arms because of its state association's refusal to bend age eligibility rules for a teenage athlete who competes with Down Syndrome.
As first reported by, Eric Dompierre will not be allowed to compete during his senior year of high school at Ishpeming (Mich.) High because he is already 19 years old. That's a year beyond the Michigan High School Athletic Association's allowable age, leaving Dompierre with little if any leeway to gain more eligibility.

Needless to say, a future without basketball is a troubling thought for Dompierre, who clearly takes and receives much from being a part of the Ishpeming program.
"I'd be sad if I couldn't play with them and not have them in my life. They want me to play, and I want to play with them," Dompierre told UpperMichigansSource.
The high school junior's father was much more direct with his analysis of just how much the decision to rule his son ineligible for a final season would affect the teenager's life.
"He gets a lot of his confidence from the fact that he gets in the games, and he has a lot of support, not only from people here in Ishpeming, but people from all over the area are supportive of him. If he's told that he's not allowed to play anymore, I think he's going to lose a lot of that confidence. And that's been a key to his development," said Eric's dad, Dean Dompierre.
While two efforts have already been made to force the MHSAA's hand into adjusting its eligibility rules, so far those attempts have fallen on deaf ears. After both proposals, the state governing body announced that "thorough reviews" determined that no rule should be changed, despite the fact that 23 other states have age regulation addendums which allow disabled students to continue competing after others their age would be forced to stop.
If the MHSAA continues to reject Dompierre's pleas to continue, it will do so over the objections of numerous Michigan natives and others who have flocked to a petition to support the teen. The online movement had garnered nearly 3,500 signatures as of Sunday night with an eye on gaining many more in the coming days.

Be gentle.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lauren Potter. I'm Down with That.

Lauren Potter, one of the stars of Glee, is at it again.  She is involved in a new non-profit web series.  LEADER OF THE PACK.   About a boy and a girl (who just happen to rock their extra chromosome).

Sit back and enjoy this mini series.

Click HERE to enjoy this new web series.

Be gentle.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Exploring the history of Down Syndrome?


 I learned something today about Down Syndrome.  There is a museum exploring the history of Down Syndrome in the UK.  How cool is that?  When (if) I visit the UK, this will definitely be on my list of must see places. 

Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability, in Teddington, to explore history of Down’s syndrome

Patient of Dr Langdon Down

Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability will be offering visitors a chance to explore the history of Down’s syndrome, including the first medical recognition of the condition and the research that took place.
The museum will host a conference focused on the history of its home Normansfield hospital, a facility established by 19th century physician John Haydon Langdon Down for the “care, education and treatment of those of good social position who presented any degree of mental deficiency”.
The hospital’s collections of archives and notes on personal experiences will be on show and there will be talks from museum archivist Ian Jones-Healey, writer Professor Conor Ward, Mencap President Lord Rix and a range of other specialists on the subject of the hospital.
Conference: Normansfield - Past Present and Future, Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability, Langdon Down Centre, Normansfield, Langdon Park, Teddington, TW11 9PS, Saturday, May 5, 9.30am to 5pm, tickets £20/£15 including lunch, booking via email at or by calling 020 8614 5100.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

We did raise awareness! Happy day after World Down Syndrome Day.

Whew.  Wasn't this awesome?  I am amazed at the response from the first World Down Syndrome Day.  Everywhere I went in the cyber world was talking about it.  If just one person learned something about Down Syndrome it was a success.  But I am sure we did much, much more.......

How did you celebrate?

UN marks first World Down Syndrome Day

UNITED NATIONS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Wednesday marked the first ever World Down Syndrome Day in order to prevent the persons with the condition from being discriminated in the society.
"For too long, persons with Down syndrome, including children, have been left on the margins of society," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a message to mark the World Day.
The UN chief's statement further expressed the long-awaited reaffirmation for all those diagnosed with Down syndrome, ensuring that all persons with the syndrome will be able to live a full life while enjoying basic human rights.
The Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. Down syndrome in a fetus can be identified through chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis during pregnancy, or in a baby at birth.
"In many countries, they continue to face stigma and discrimination as well as legal, attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their participation in their communities," Ban said.
The secretary-general noted that the discrimination can be as invidious as forced sterilization, and as subtle as segregation and isolation through both physical and social barriers.
Persons with Down syndrome are often denied the right to equal recognition before the law, as well as the right to vote or be elected.
The UN General Assembly has designated March 21 as the World Down Syndrome Day in order to raise public awareness of the syndrome. While not only being the victims of stigma,they are often denied the right to vote, attend school or participate inactivities with the rest of society.
In many cases around the world, mothers of those children diagnosed with Down Syndrome leave their children in special homes, depriving them of their freedom.
For decades the UN has worked to ensure all persons are given the rights they deserve, and in doing so, they adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006.
The Convention is intended to embody the "paradigm shift in which persons with disabilities are no longer regarded as objects of charity and welfare, but as persons with equal rights and dignity who can make an enormous contribution to society in their own right."
Meanwhile, Ban applauded the global partnership of those who gathered to bring awareness and help bring initiation to World Down Syndrome Day, saying that "let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all."

Be gentle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Down Syndrome. Just the statistics.

Tomorrow is World Down Syndrome Day.  

What are the statistics associated with Down Syndrome.  Some are expected, some are just downright surprising.  Do you have other statistics I can add to my list?













Be gentle.

Monday, March 19, 2012

World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day observed on March 21 each year.
This date (3/21) represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome, and people and organizations worldwide celebrate on this day in a variety of different ways. The Arc will be celebrating Tuesday, March 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Arc of Mower County, 401 2nd Ave. NE, Austin.
March 21 marks the seventh anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and for the first time in 2012 this day will be officially observed by the United Nations.
Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. But there is still so much more we can do.

Be gentle

Which ones do you have in your library.

Books about Down Syndrome.

What can you add about each of these books?  I love books.  Do you have others to add to my list?

Product Details

Product Details
Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details
Product Details

Product Details

Be gentle

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Smile

Davey loves being such a cool guy.  He has his own fan club at school.  Don't you agree he is such a cool guy?

Be gentle.