Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Advocacy #17: Let me act my age.

on October 17, 2015

A letter from Tessa to everyone:

Dear everyone,

My mom says to tell you that she promises not to make a habit of talking for me.  She keeps telling me that I will have to “advocate” someday too and that she will speak up for me until I do it on my own and then she will speak with me, not for me.

But I want to tell you something!  Did you know that soon, I will be two?!  Can you believe it??  My birthday is coming in a couple short months, and even though I don’t walk yet or talk yet, I’m a toddler!

I know it’s hard to remember because sometimes I do things that babies do… And I’m little, so I look kinda like a baby.  But ya know what?  I really like it when you treat me like I’m my age.  

I hear that lots of people like me feel the same way!  It can be hard when people treat others with Down syndrome like they are kids, even when they are not.  Once my mom told me that she hopes people will always “presume competence” and make accommodations for areas that challenge me, but not “lower the bar” or treat me like I don’t know what it means to be an adult.  I don’t really get what she means by all that mumbo jumbo.  All I know is that I want people to believe that I’m not a baby.  I just want to be one of the kids! 
You can advocate for me by showing the world that I am my age.  If you always treat me like a baby, it might be harder for me to grow!  Plus, I get a little bummed out when other kids my age get to do fun stuff and people think I can’t be a part of it.  Let me play with kids my age – let me have the same privileges and experiences that they do (especially if it involves treats).  I will raise to whatever bar you set for me, so make it high. 

Love you!




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