However, I do feel like I have a unique perspective when it comes to people with Down syndrome. I am a father and teacher of children with DS. My son, Judah, who will be 6 years old soon has Down syndrome. Not so rare you might think for a parent to blog about their life raising a kid with DS. I've seen many and enjoy reading about other parents' adventures with their own little buddies. I am also a first year teacher. My class is for students with moderate intellectual disabilities (mental retardation) grades kindergarten through 3rd grade. I have 7 students in my class, 4 of which have Down syndrome.
|My little buddy, Judah.|
After Judah was born I began thinking seriously about returning to college to become a special ed teacher. I went to Dallas Baptist University for a few semesters right after I graduated from high school in 1997. At the time, it just wasn't for me. I had other interests and plans and dropped out after a year and a half. I went on to live my life, get married, start a family, etc. I had a couple of careers, first as a UPS driver and then as an electrician. With the arrival of my new little buddy I returned to college in January 2006 when he was only 3 months old. I graduated with honors in May 2011 with a dual major in elementary and special education. I also obtained a structured English immersion certificate from Northern Arizona University.
If you knew me in Jr. and High school that may come as a surprise to you. When I was younger all I cared about was skateboarding and punk rock. I hated school. I had no idea that I was capable of getting A's, or even honor's for that matter. It's amazing what responsibility and life will do to you.
|Judah with his little sister Aveline at a car show.|
I became a teacher for Judah, so that I could be the best father for him. It's really that simple. I would not be a teacher if Judah did not exist. He changed my life and in turn I have chosen a career that will change his and hopefully help the lives of others like him.
The more I learned the more I fell in love with people with Down syndrome (I like to call them "buddies") and the more I came to grips with the fact that the best thing for Judah may NOT be for me to be his teacher. So we're just taking the mainstream deal one year at a time.
We are coming up on the first grading period of the school year, Judah's 6th birthday and it just so happens to be October, Down syndrome awareness month. Which is why I started this blog. I love my career! I love teaching students with disabilities, especially buddies. I already have a grip of stories to tell and the school year is just barely getting started. I hope you can be encouraged by my adventures with my own little buddy and my students.
About the name of this blog: JUST LISTEN HARDER. While in college a young lady about 27 years old with Down syndrome spoke to one of my education classes. While taking questions, I asked her "As a father of a child with Down syndrome what is the best advice you can give me?" She replied "Just listen. If you don't understand what he's saying just listen harder."