Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]

A Letter From Rylee (You Don't Know Me Until You Know Me)


Rylee's Letters about "People-First Language" and "The 'R' Word" have been so well-received... by family, friends, teachers, therapists, doctors, specialists, the mailman, the lady at the bank who doesn't mind that I never fill out a deposit slip in the drive-thru... you know, pretty much everyone I have shared Rylee's Letters with!!

Here is Rylee's 3rd letter, written last month. I am so happy to hear how many people are touched by her letters, and are passing them on... thank you!!

*****


You Don't Know Me Until You Know Me

July 2009

I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself.

My name is Rylee.
I am 5 years old, and I am excited to start Kindergarten in the fall.
I like eating pretzels, raisins and cheese.
I do not like taking medicine when I am sick.
I am happy when I get to pretend I'm a teacher to my stuffed animals.
I am sad when I have to brush my teeth.

Do I sound like other kids you know?

And, there is something else that makes me, me...
I have Down syndrome.

When people see me, they often see my almond-shaped eyes
and my tongue that peeks out sometimes... and they think they know me.
People think that kids with Down syndrome are all alike --
the good and the not-so-good.
My parents sometimes hear, "Oh, 'they' are so loving",
"'they' are always happy" or "'they' tend to be stubborn."

I am loving. I like giving hugs and kisses,
but there are times when I don't feel very loving,
like when my brother takes a toy of mine.

I am happy -- especially when I ride my bike or get to eat my favorite snacks.
But there are times when I don't feel happy,
like when I have to come in from playing outside,
or when I have to go to bed when I don't really feel like it.

I am stubborn and want to do things my way,
but there are times when I am not stubborn and am really good at cooperating.

I have lots of friends... some have Down syndrome and some do not.
There are ways in which my friends and I are alike,
and there are ways in which we are different.

You see, I am a kid. I have all different kinds of feelings.
My extra chromosome doesn't change that.

So, when you see me, and you see my
almond-shaped eyes and peeking-out-tongue,
please don't generalize about all people with Down syndrome
by using 'they' statements.

Because, really, you don't know me... until you know me.

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!
© 2009 Carin Griffith • Disability Awareness Alliance™


2 comments:

Lisa said...

Love this. Thank you for posting :)!

Sharon said...

I love this!