October is Noah’s month. Actually, every month is Noah’s month! My son, Noah, is 17, a high school junior who loves football and a Green Bay Packers fan (his favorite person on the team is the equipment manager, Red, who has great energy and inspired Noah to help whenever there is something to do).
Noah is the big brother to two sisters. He calls our dog the other “guy” in the house to keep it even. He loves music and reruns of Full House. He uses his iPad to connect with friends and family on Facebook and Skype, does handstands underwater, sings like he’s underwater even when he’s not and happens to have Down syndrome. So it’s his month because October is national Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Noah is exactly who he should be
If there is one thing we could say about living with Noah, it would be that he is exactly who he should be. He is content and loves people. He notices when you get a haircut or new car. Noah remembers your birthday and tells everyone your age. He loves roller coasters and scramblers. Noah doesn’t like hiking. He complains when it’s his turn to empty the dishwasher. He gets in your personal space and volunteers in the community. He’s sad on days he can’t go to school. He has friends and the prettiest homecoming date. He takes his time — it’s the only way he knows.
Noah never asks for Christmas or birthday presents because he already has everything he needs, and the only thing he wants — a party with people he loves — is already in the plan. He turns his head in the direction he needs to be able to hear you. Noah sees things as they are and isn’t afraid of things he hasn’t experienced yet. When his sister fell off a horse in front of him, he dismounted and asked me if I knew “you could fall off of these things?” He is funny.
We have been more aware of Down syndrome every month of the last 17 years of our lives. So have the people who live and work around us. We watch other people with Noah. Some notice first because he has Down syndrome, but they eventually see he is just as he should be.
~ Kara Van Vooren, information and referral specialist, Northeast Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Needs
The Northeast Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs is one of five centers throughout the state that offer training, support and resources to families that have children with disabilities or chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions. Learn more about the center’s programs and services at northeastregionalcenter.org.