I recently attended the World Down Syndrome Conference held in Cape Town - right on my doorstep. I couldn't miss the opportunity, as I really can't see when else I'd get to go to one.
I hadn't thought about it that much before I arrived, possibly not the best move! The first morning was incredibly emotional. I can't pinpoint why - but must have been the mix of: seeing lots of other children and adults with Down Syndrome (like seeing my future before my eyes); watching closely to how parents were handling and controlling their children; listening to how people described Down Syndrome and listening to Down Syndrome people talk and share their stories. I was teary for most of the morning, desperately waiting for it to become more 'business like', but I soon realised that there was going to be nothing business like about it - for me at least anyway.
I attended some interested talks and workshops, was a good 'reconnect' for me with all the aspects that I should be dealing with and addressing with Katelyn.
Some things that stood out for me:
- Facing the realities of an 'Intellectual Disability'
- Education and the incredible challenges of inclusive education in a South African context
- The power of self-advocacy
- The weight of responsibility the parents take on wanting the best for their Down Syndrome children
Hopefully I'll find the time soon to run through my notes and consolidate my thoughts properly!