Everything we do outside our home requires transportation: shopping, visits to family or friends, work, religious observance, and school. Historically, parents play the major role in transportation, even as the child becomes a teen and then an adult. How much a parent does varies with each family. Expectations are rising as new generations of families realize the barriers faced by their youth and adult offspring.
March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD 2018). When I was 13, Armen, the son of my dad’s first cousin, was welcomed into our extended family. He had Down syndrome, and at some family gatherings, I was assigned to watch him as the adults socialized. Although Armen’s family moved to California and I saw them infrequently after high school, he had a lasting impact on my life.
This week for a change, I’m sharing the words of three other individuals that spoke yesterday during the 40th Annual Legislative Reception, held by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and The Arc of Massachusetts. We recognized Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Denise Garlick, and ceremony participants included Governor Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senator Karen Spilka. Despite the threat of weather, nearly 200 people joined us – and another 140 people tuned into our Facebook Live, which is still available to watch.
In the past few weeks, I’ve focused on inclusion by sharing Ryan’s success story and the outpouring of community recognition and affection at the passing of Andrew Lawson (local paper).
Sometimes we just need resources to take advantage of opportunity. That’s true of all of us. Last week, I shared some of Ryan Horrigan’s story. He and his parents persisted at building avenues for success. Similarly, Jonathan Huggon, one of our six “Expect Success” Achievers, worked throughout his youth with the support of his family to achieve. Ryan, Jonathan, and their families did their homework, sometimes sacrificed, and learned what they could about opportunities.