Down syndrome Everywhere! is not a book about Down syndrome people. It is a book about the rest of us and our search for what matters most. It is my suggestion that Down syndrome people, historically some of the most overlooked and disenfranchised people in the world, can help lead us there. In the searchings of human history, there have been many revolutions, sometimes leading to political changes and sometimes to cultural changes. But, revolutions build slowly and to me it feels like we are in the midst of a revolution. I have come to believe that Down syndrome people could be the underlying leaders of this revolution, the greatest revolution, the only revolution that will yield the results that have been unattainable by all the others: a revolution of the heart.
An open heart, which is mostly a misunderstood and vague idea to many, will never, ever fail to lead to a deep sense of peace, equity, belonging and purpose. If you ask a person who knows a Down syndrome person, they invariably agree that their hearts are naturally open.
In Down Syndrome Everywhere! I will tell the stories of ordinary people to show how, even in the midst of chaos and hardship, Down syndrome people are a light to those around them. There is a story of a family from worn-torn Syria who is living in a refugee camp in Iraq with their Down syndrome son. There is no doubt in my mind that this son, Mohammed, is a blessing in their bleak world; I can see it in the eyes of the father. I have a story from Mongolia of a father who was ashamed of his Down syndrome son in this proud male culture, but because of the Special Olympics, and seeing other fathers beam with pride at the success of their children, his heart was opened in a way that it never would have been otherwise. In Saudi Arabia, Down syndrome people are demonstrating that they are not a punishment from Allah. On and on, around the world Down syndrome people are changing hearts and minds.
Down Syndrome Everywhere! will show that Down syndrome people are not trying to be like us. Nothing is wrong with them. Nothing is missing. And more importantly, we should be learning from them.