Nope! She is a guest speaker!
First Year Students at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have a series of topics covered in Tuesday morning sessions. This week was Genetic Anomalies. Through a connection with the Upside of Downs, families with a member who has Down Syndrome were invited to meet with the medical students to talk about Down Syndrome.
This was a great opportunity for us to show what a great life Monica has! While she has many challenges, she has many abilities and contributes to the world! We wanted to help the medical students see that medical and developmental challenges can be met. Some parents have met with the students on their own, bur we have always felt Monica should be there. Nothing like flesh and blood to speak a truth! Monica loved seeing the new Health Education Campus at Cleveland Clinic.
Monica and I prepared a few things to say and were ready to answer the students’ questions. Monica let everyone know that I talked too much!
The students asked some great questions:
When and how did we find out that Monica had Down Syndrome? Here is where my answer was too long –practically the whole delivery story!
What activities does Monica enjoy with her siblings? Hanging out and going to sports and parties
How did we learn about Down Syndrome? After all – there were no Down Syndrome blogs back when Monica was born!
Did Monica’s education go until she was 21? The law says so, but we pulled her out before then because we felt we could do more than what was being provided.
Did we ever consider moving in order to access better medical care or education or services for Monica? No!
What kind of doctors (specialties or demeanors) stood out in our experience of many medical adventures?
We shared that we have had some GREAT doctors along the way – especially our own pediatrician who welcomed Monica and always kept me informed of evaluations we should do because of the increased likelihood of certain medical conditions or concerns. Other great doctors have been the ones to look both Monica and I in the eyes and refrain from looking at the laptop screens too much. We told them we appreciated the doctors who respected our convictions, like when I told the cardiologist that I wanted to keep Monica at home when she needed to be fed through a naso-gastric tube, and that I wanted her to get breastmilk in the tube. I mentioned the reasons why we did change doctors a few times along the way, which were philosophical more than medical.
We concluded that we felt happy to be in Cleveland where we have fantastic medical care – so they better keep up the good work!