This post includes the first 15 installments of #DSAM2014 from the Just Listen Harder Instagram. My goal for this month has been to create a daily inspirational picture with an encouraging quote about Down syndrome to inspire awareness and acceptance. Below I have included each daily post with the explanation. As I went back and re-read these, I noticed grammar errors, but that is the beauty of writing things freestyle and not planning it out. It comes out raw and uncut. I went through each post and cleaned them up or added to them a little for the blog though. Please feel free to repost and reuse in a positive way. If you do, just give us credit. I'll post the next 16 pictures at the end of the month. Thanks and enjoy!
I started this blog in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2011. It’s been three years, and for DSAM 2014 I decided to start an Instagram to support the blog. Over the past three years I have been documenting my adventures, success, trials, and failures accordingly. Initially I started the blog as a means to document my own history and share with close family and friends only. Over time, I realized that I could use my experiences as a way to advocate and help bring awareness. Nine years ago when I became a new father to a baby boy with Down syndrome there was very little manly support. So I'm doing my best at putting myself aside and opening up to other men that find themselves on a similar journey. Additionally, I've earned some grandeur in the educational field along the way and wish to open up discussion and bridge gaps between parents and educators. Please feel free to reach out to me on here, through Instagram, or email. Also, please share these posts with people in your life that might benefit from them. I'm not interested in making myself or my son Insta-famous, I just wish to offer my experiences and advice to those who could use it. I'm trying my best to wrap some of that up with quick sayings on pictures of my boy, my students, and athletes. Every picture I use is my own; either taken by me, or someone else in my life. Credit is given accordingly.
MYTH: People with Down syndrome are always happy.
TRUTH: People with Down syndrome have feelings just like everyone else in the population. They experience the full range of emotions. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and they are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior. -NDSS.ORG
This should go without saying, but it does not. Many people have the best of intentions even with ignorant remarks like this. I think a better way of approaching this would be to say that people with Down syndrome have a great way of bringing joy to others. Those with Down syndrome are not without the full spectrum of human emotions. Just this morning, Judah threw a huge fit because I wouldn't let him watch TV first thing. He pouted for about an hour and a half. So no, people with Down syndrome are NOT always happy.