February 20, 2013

And it's a wrap!

Lately there has been a lot of chatter in the down syndrome community about "are people with disabilities contributing members of society" (I prefer to say their communities). As far as I can tell the focus has been looking at people with disabilities as "gifts" to our communities who teach us so much. I do not argue this point at all, but I think we are missing the boat when we talk about "us".

In my mind it is not about us at all - it is about choice. The choice people with disabilities make about their lives, their futures and their contributions. For now Alex's choice of contribution is through sports. It makes her feel fulfilled and included. It makes her feel good, and as an added benefit her contributions make others feel good.

It is not about me looking in, rather Alex looking out. My job is to facilitate that process and honor her dreams in a way that is positive and possible.

The following was in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent this morning:


Athlete shows her heart in Seoul

Alex Bender brings home silver and bronze medals from Special Olympic World Winter Games in South Korea

Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Cue the theme from “Rocky” because El Jebel resident Alex Bender has just come home from South Korea as a Special Olympics medalist. Bender, 19, joined Team USA, a contingent of 152 athletes and 61 coaches and staff, to compete in the Special Olympics 2013 World Winter Games in the Republic of Korea from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5. 

Bender, who was born with Down syndrome, won two medals and a ribbon for alpine skiing. “It was exciting,” she said during a phone call from New Jersey last week, where she was relaxing with family and applying for college. Read more

A huge thanks to the many people who have listened to Alex and helped her realize her choice of contribution.


  1. I liked the line, 'It's not about me looking in. It's about Alex looking out.' Great perspective. I'll be thinking about that for a while.

    1. Thanks...it is a constant reminder of who is important!

  2. Great points Gary! I agree with Cindy- perfect.


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