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™


Lisa said...

Love this. Thank you for posting :)!

Sharon said...

I love this!