Sunday, 29 November 2009

Dakota's Pride

I've just had the delight of watching "Dakota's Pride" which Girard Sagmiller very kindly let Down's Heart Group have a copy of.  If you haven't seen it, I would recommend you try to get hold of a copy as it's a wonderfully uplifting and honest piece about Girard finding out about Down's Syndrome and the expectations for his son Dakota.  It's available on Amazon.

Amongst many others it features clips with Brian Skotko, whom I have only recently come across but already hold in extremely high regard.  He has used his personal experience of growing up with a sister with Down's Syndrome and brought that to his work as a doctor in paediatrics - I envy those parents who get the diagnosis from him, because I cannot imagine a better or more positive person to recieve that news from.

In "Dakota's Pride", there is a brilliant section where Brian talks about people with Down's Syndrome, the possibilites and what they bring to a family.

Can people with Down's Syndrome drive cars today? Yes.
Can people with Down's Syndrome get married? Yes.
Can people with Down's Syndrome hold jobs, get into the National Sports Hall of Fame and be an accomplished violinist? Yes.
People with Down's Syndrome are shattering our expectations, but the true magic, I remain convinced nestles in the small accomplishments that exist every day.  If you have a child that doesn't go on to be a concert violinist, he's going to have some other magic, some other treasures that will happen on a day to day basis.  And how lucky are you the parents to be able to find these every day. 
So let's not treasure the big accomplishments, the true highs happen on a day to day basis.

I think my reaction is summed up brilliantly by my long time friend Kathy Ratkiewicz commenting on Amazon's website, in her capacity as Vice President Down Syndrome Family Support and Advocacy Group of Michigan.
I watched the most amazing documentary last night..Dakota's Pride.

I highly recommend it.  The documentary is about one family's search for answers about Down syndrome.  Like many of us, they were taken by surprise when their child was born with Ds. they went through the usual stages of  grief, then decided to educate themselves about Ds.  There are family interviews, interviews with young adults who have Ds, some doctors, a pastor, therapists and lots of scenes of people with Ds. there is a great segment with a singing group of young adults with Ds singing and signing a song (tissue alert;-) especially for the longer segment at the end.

Too many good comments by the people interviewed to list,,, well worth the price and well worth the time it takes to watch it (over an hour). Excellent for new families too.  I  wish that doctors could watch it.  I think that it might very well change their minds about what life for and with people with Ds really is like.


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