Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]

A Letter From Rylee (People-First Language)

I began writing "Letters from Rylee" last year when I realized that Rylee had a lot to teach the world. (Actually, I knew Rylee had a lot to teach the world the minute she was born, but "Begin Writing 'Letters from Rylee' So She Can Teach the World" didn't make it to the top of my to-do list until last year.)

I just finished writing my 3rd "Letter from Rylee," but before I share it, I want to jump back and share the 1st two letters for those of you who haven't read them.

Here's the first letter -- take it away, Rylee!


Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

March 21, 2008

Down Syndrome International has declared March 21 as

World Down Syndrome Day!

(Because people with Down syndrome have 3 – 21st chromosomes,

it was appropriate that the date “3-21” was chosen!)

I was excited to hear about this day, because it gives me a chance to tell you some important things about me.

My name is Rylee.

I am 4 years old. I go to pre-school to learn things like sharing, counting, ABCs, and writing my name.

I like eating spaghetti and cheese.

I do not like having my hair cut or brushing my teeth.

I am happy when I get to read books with mom, play ball with dad and dance with my older sister.

I am sad when I have to leave the toy store.

I get mad when my little brother gets into my things.

Do I sound like other kids you know?

And, there is something else that makes me, me

I have Down syndrome.

I don’t really know what Down syndrome is yet. What I do know is that I am more like other kids than I am different.

I am a person first.

When people talk about me, I want them to say my name first.

I am not a "Downs kid."

Because Down syndrome is only one little thing about me,

I don’t want it to be before my name.

It makes it sound too important.

I know that other people with disabilities want the same thing.

Mom says it’s called “People-First Language.”

I just think it’s nice manners.

If someone you know has autism,

they are a "person with autism"– not “an autistic person.”

If someone is disabled,

they are a "person with a disability"– not "a disabled person."

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to us –

and to our families.

Mom & dad say that our words are very powerful.

What and how we say things shows others what we believe.

I hope that you believe what I do… that I am Rylee.

I am a little girl.

I like going to school and playing with my brother and sister.

I just happen to have Down syndrome.

The next time you talk about someone with a disability,

please say their name first.

It will show that person that you believe just that –

that they are a person first!

Thank you, Rylee!


If you would like to pass Rylee's letter along, please email me

and I can email you her letter as a pdf document.

Thanks for helping to raise awareness!

© 2008 Carin Griffith • Disability Awareness Alliance™


Monica Crumley said...

Wow, Carin, this is beautiful. I'm going to add your blog to my blogroll. I think Rylee has a lot to teach all of us :-) BTW, there will be a moms and dads sharing sessions for slightly older kids like Rylee, too. I realized after I emailed you that she isn't under 2 :-)

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Can't wait to meet you Carin! And your beautiful family!!! Save travels to Sacto!!!!

Lisa said...

I would love to link to this/post this on Bridget's Light. Would that be okay?

Carin said...

Lisa, Thank you so much! I would love to have you include a link to Rylee's letter on your blog! Two more of her letters will be posted on here soon as well... please feel free to share! I can't wait to check out your blog and find out more about your family!!

Carin said...

Jennifer, It was great meeting you in California! I wish we'd had more time to visit! There are just so many people and so little time!! I look forward to getting to know your family through your blog! Take care!