A journey of triumphs and challenges, life and magic. A life of awareness and acceptance. A gift of Down syndrome.
Books and Projects
There has been a lot of media coverage about Down syndrome as the medical community is now able to provide a very early diagnosis for pregnant women on the possibly of having a baby with Down syndrome.
There has not been a lot of coverage about what Down syndrome really is and what a positive contribution people with Down syndrome are making to their communities. There has not been a lot of coverage about the gifts people with Down syndrome bring to their families, friends and communities. There is a lot to learn.
We share our story of the unexpected birth of our daughter, Alex, 19 years ago and her triumphs as well as challenges. Imagine if everyone was given the opportunity to learn from the people who know best, those who work to include, advocate and create awareness of the importance of diversity. Think about it.
Please read some of the great reviews of our story, and learn for yourself. Buy our book.
From award winning author Michele Cozzens:
I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book, From Grief to Celebration: How One Family Learned to Embrace the Gift of Down Syndrome. It is extraordinarily well written from the heart of a mother with three children, including one who happens to have an extra chromosome.
The child--who is actually now a young woman--is named Alex. And through the pages of this book you'll fall in love with her. But I think even more, you'll fall in love with the author, Margaret "Gary" Bender. In these pages, Gary bares her soul. She shares every painful, joyful and revolutionary moment of her experience as a parent, and she does so not only out of love for Alex--and her family--but also out of what appears to be a need to advocate for all parents who have children with special needs.
This book must be added to the bibliography Gary provides in the chapter titled "Research," which includes a list of books she sought and read when Alex was born in 1993. If you indeed have a baby with Down syndrome, please put Gary's book at the top of your list. You will learn many things, but you will especially know that you are not alone; you will learn how to advocate; and you will learn to embrace and celebrate your child/situation. And as any parent will tell you, just like kids without special needs, our babies grow up very quickly. You will learn your Down syndrome child might not do everything like walk and talk and potty train according to what you thought was normal, but she/he will learn. And she/he will also teach YOU things you never imagined.
What makes this book additionally noteworthy for parents with and without children of special needs, is that Gary allows us to see how universal the experience of parenting truly is. In other words, I found Gary to be not only an advocate for parents of children with Down syndrome; but also, she helps us recognize and remember the individual needs of all children. In a particularly moving segment of the book, she shares the feelings of Alex's sister and brother. Her sister's college essay is well written and very moving.
The book--a quick read--is organized according to a list of verbs that Gary believes has defined their experience. As the title suggests, the verbs begin with "Grief" and culminate in "Celebration." The verbs she uses, numbered from 1-10 plus the bonus, are relatable to parenting and, frankly, life in general. I give this book my highest recommendation.
FOR A SHORT TIME THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE FOR $12.50 (all inclusive) at the following link:
And can be purchased on Kindle for $4.99
"From Grief to Celebration, How One Family Learned to Embrace the Gift of Down Syndrome"
I have published our original chapter - sophomore year of high school and all the events that happened before and during this year in an e-blog. Please feel free to read from the beginning, or if easier, follow this link to purchase all the entries in a downloadable file. I have taken out the pictures and any quotes/articles I cited due to copyright infringements.
It is published just as I wrote it - with all the challenges and triumphs of Alex's sophomore year of high school.
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