Downs Ed conference in Atlanta

Since I'm still apparently someone who can't make effective use of her actual Twitter site, I thought I'd do another round of I'm out of town, and here's what I'd tweet if I were using Twitter.  (Actually, this is partially I'm out of town, and here are text messages I sent Biffle today.)

  • Just met Sue Buckley in breakfast buffet!  Did not rave nearly enough because she seemed tired.  Maybe later I'll have the chance to tell her how much her work has meant to us.  Sue Buckley!!
  • I'm learning so much!  One thing I've learned is that you and I rock as parents to the Ween.  We have more to do.  Singing=great.
  • Just had lunch with the woman who made Deedah!  She is super-excited about the CofC REACH Program.
And some quotes from Sue Buckley's keynote talk at the end of the day:
  • Our job is "preparing our youngsters to have as ordinary a life as possible."  
  • "The most important thing for a child with Down syndrome is to be a much-loved member of a happy, ordinary family."
  • About her daughter, Roberta, who underwent a paradigm shift when she moved out and started dating, becoming more independent than Sue ever knew she could be:  "All that changed around her were opportunities and attitudes."  In other words, Roberta's IQ didn't change; her physical abilities didn't change.  She just finally had the space, the motivation, and the support to be her own whole person.
  • Sue went on to observe "how underestimated so many people are."  She underestimated her own daughter, but has since learned so much from her.
  • She demanded that we have "high expectations for our children being part of the social world and leading an ordinary life."
  • She also pointed out that we live in a democracy, and it's our responsibility to demand and create the schools and communities that our children deserve.
Ultimately, the theme for her entire talk was HIGH EXPECTATIONS!*  And, you know, ordinariness.  Biffle and I may or may not have the ordinary part down, but the rest is good.  I did get the chance to talk with her briefly after her keynote, and I was happy to get to share how much we appreciate and have benefited from her research and activism.

I feel so validated, and also on a little bit of a post-conference buzz.

*It's worth noting that the "best research" I cited in my previous post, the research that proves the effectiveness of inclusion, was done, in part, by Sue Buckley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear your comments on Palin's recent speech about trusting god and choosing life regarding her son with Downs. I don't have the full text of the speech, but I wonder if she ever talks about him as a whole person.
-- Mel