I’m afraid this post won’t be terribly exciting, because guess what? A day in the life of Sam is like a day in the life of pretty much any three-year-old.
We start with breakfast, where Mr. Finicky does his best to eat something as delightfully healthy as pretzels for his morning meal. I’ll admit that he often wins that battle.
Then it’s time to walk big brother to school. Sam rides in the stroller and greets the people we pass along the way. He could walk it, but he’s far too interested in picking up rocks and examining plants—we’d never make it on time!
And then it’s Sam’s turn—we drop big brother off at school, walk home, and get in the car to head to preschool. Sam attends a private, general education preschool five days a week. This was our choice, not the school district’s—they insisted that he needed to be in special ed. But everyone who actually knows Sam knows that this wasn’t necessary. He’s a sharp kid who loves school, and he works hard to keep up with his typically developing three-year-old peers.
Sam’s school is a play-based developmental model, so the kids learn mostly through play and songs. So his day is spent playing, creating art, singing, dancing, and interacting with his peers. Along the way, he’s learning the beginning pieces of Handwriting Without Tears—how to form letters using wooden sticks, as a precursor to actual handwriting. He also participates in their “lunch bunch,” where he eats a hot lunch with his friends and has learned to serve his own food from a community bowl and to use utensils to feed himself. His table manners actually far exceed those of his older, typically developing brother.
After a nap, a group snack, and some outdoor play, it’s time for me to pick him up. We come home and hang out while big brother does his homework, then we often take a walk or play outside for a while. Then it’s dinner, bath, and bed.
On the weekends, we take trips to local parks, hiking trails, and sometimes children’s activities. Sam loves to try to keep up with the bigger kids, and he’s game to try anything.
See how dull this post was? That’s because it’s all so very, very normal. Down syndrome doesn’t mean your life has to change in every way and suddenly become all Down syndrome, all the time. Sure, we work therapies into the mix, and sure, he learns a little more slowly than his peers. But there is absolute truth in the saying that he is “more alike than different.” Sam enhances our family in so many ways—some having to do with Down syndrome, but many having to do with what an extraordinary human being he is, chromosome count aside.
Meriah is the deaf, single mom of 3 kids (one gifted 2E, one with Down syndrome). A longtime career counselor, teacher and disability advocate, she loves helping to create community and empower parents, people with disabilities (and of course, parents with disabilities).