Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I Never Thought...Day 3

This week for Down syndrome awareness month, I have been sharing some moments that I never thought would happen when I heard my daughter had Down syndrome. The way Down syndrome was presented, I was sure her life (and therefore mine) would be limited. I pictured a million scenarios after her diagnosis, but I never imagined she would have such a full life.

When a Down syndrome diagnosis was given, I never thought I'd see my daughter become an athlete. I was warned early on that Jaycee would meet her developmental milestones late. Her low muscle tone and extra flexibility meant that Jaycee rolled, crawled, walked, ran, and jumped much later than other children. Over her 11 years of life, Jaycee has spent hours and hours and hours in therapy trying to achieve these motor skills. Her successes were exciting, but she still has low muscle tone that affects her today. 

There are some children with Down syndrome that can join sports teams with peers, but my daughter is not one of them. She's not at peer level in sports, and she never has been. We live in a rural area, so there's never been any "special programs" for Jaycee either. Sports really aren't that important in life, so I was fine with her never playing them. 

But that all changed. My daughter's grade school teacher (and classroom aides) decided to bring Special Olympics to their school. This meant twice a year, Jaycee would be participating in events for Special Olympics. She would be on her very first team! 

I didn't know seeing my child in a team uniform would be so emotional for me. My daughter was an athlete! Years ago, I never thought I'd see this child, who took almost 2 years to learn to walk, run in a short 50 m race. Back then, I never thought I'd see this child, who didn't hold her bottle until almost a year old, throw a softball and qualify for the state games. I never thought I'd see my husband give Jaycee pointers on how to best throw the softball because he threw shot put in high school.

Special Olympics Athlete 

Jaycee receiving a medal at the state games. 

Jaycee and her biggest fan (me!)

Yep-it's true. I never thought I'd see my child compete and be an athlete. I also never thought it would mean so much to me! There are many things I never thought I'd see my child do, but Jaycee has showed me how much she can do given an opportunity!

Special Olympics really is a gift to families like mine. Consider volunteering or donating to help those with disabilities continue to have chances like my daughter has received. Special thanks to Jaycee's coaches and helpers who give their time and resources to keep Special Olympics going at our school. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Evana:

    in the early 2000s I read about a young lady participating in Special Olympics gymnastics at a near-elite level on bit.listserv.down-syn.

    What a moment it was to follow her career and sporting life.

    And Jaycee has more fans.

    Volunteering and donating is indeed a very good idea.

    And rural and regional sports are indeed inclusive - especially at school.

    And softball throwing is brilliant, Jaycee and Evana and Mr Sandusky.


submit to reddit