Oh goodness – I have been so delinquent in updates! Before I get started I want to give a big THANK YOU shout out to all who supported our Buddy Walk Team in honor of Peter. This year we exceeded our goal as a team, and the Buddy Walk far exceeded fundraising goals! The support in our community was outstanding – awareness of Down syndrome was built with TV and radio personalities staging full week events, many families interviewed on the radio, I was interviewed on local morning TV show (so exciting!) and so much more. There were almost 4,000 walkers the day of the event and the weather was perfect. We were blessed to have my parents join us again this year. It is so inspiring to see so many families come out to support individuals with Down syndrome, to see little ones that remind me how far Peter has come, and older kids that motivate me to encourage Peter to keep learning and developing. He may be a turtle in the pack – but as my pediatrician told me when Peter was tiny “How fast you go does not define how far you go” …..and those words still encourage me 5 years later!
Hello Morning Kindergarten Parents!
My name is Catherine Krause and my son Peter is in Kindergarten with your child – and we are looking forward to a wonderful Kindergarten experience! My husband, John, and I wanted to send you this quick letter to introduce ourselves and our son Peter to you.
Peter has Down syndrome and several health challenges that have come with it. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal variation in humans, occurring in about 1 of 733 live births. Many of you may already know someone with Down syndrome! There are common assumptions about individuals with Down syndrome – that they are always happy and very stubborn. In our case that is almost always true! As with typical kids, children with Down syndrome have different strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and have the full range of emotions although often they have a gift to find the good in any situation. As a matter of fact, children with Down syndrome – while they share many physical traits – are actually a lot more like their family than other individuals with Down syndrome.
Peter is our fifth child, and older brother to his best buddy Gretchen. In addition to Down syndrome, Peter has had various medical challenges that have slowed his development down and kept him out of school for extended periods of time. We are hoping this year will be different! As a result Peter is still working on verbal skills as well as catching up with the basics such as letters, numbers and colors. Short in stature but the with physical strength of a bull, we realize he is clearly different even to the eyes of young children. Your children may have made a comment about Peter, or observed that there is someone in their class that isn’t yet keeping up. We ask that you please be open with your child as we don’t want to ignore Peter’s differences. We ask too that you also help your child understand that Peter is more alike than different, and that he sometimes has special needs even they can help with. In pre-school he had a group of girls that took turns holding his hand to make sure he got to the playground instead of trying to check out the other classes! He had another little friend that loved to “catch” Peter at the bottom of the slide and pointed the way back to the ladder. I know Mrs. Nelson can provide guidance for the children as necessary, but my hope is that all children will feel comfortable interacting with Peter. If you have any questions about Down syndrome or Peter specifically that would help build appropriate awareness by all means please reach out to us at KrauseBears@gmail.com or on my cell at 466-XXXX, as we would be happy to provide any information that you need. As parents we truly believe that building positive awareness in all of our children will make the world a better place!
While Peter is not yet at the level of his peers, I would like to share some information that I hope will help your child find a connection with Peter. At this point he is working on verbal skills and will shout our phrases like “I got it” when playing ball, “I see you” when playing peek-a-boo, or “what is that?” when exploring his environment. He uses basic sign language as well as pointing or other sounds to communicate. He will often try to get your attention by a gentle pat on the back or arm. He is a very social child, often trying to make friends where ever we go. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and a few days a month is on medication that makes him a bit moody. We will be letting Mrs. Nelson know when that time of the month is coming up so she is aware he may be slightly grumpier. This last school year he worked very hard on learning class room routines with the hopes that he can function more easily with his peers in the class. We spent all summer working on playground skills so that he would have a chance to play with his classmates – he loves to go up and down the slide! While we haven’t mastered swinging on his own, he loves to race cars, play ball, chase others and generally just have a lot of fun. He helps his little sister’s dolls go to sleep by rocking them, and has recently decided he is a dog as he chases us on all fours barking. Peter loves yogurt, ice cream and hot dogs! But most of all Peter loves to be in the swimming pool, play with his trains, dance to music, throw ball, and love on dogs. We think one day he will work at a vets office because dogs are the reason he sneaks out the back door of our house and goes to our neighbor’s – her dog is bigger than ours!
What are my hopes for Peter? My dreams for Peter are the same as for all my children – to be happy! I wish for him good friends, an opportunity to contribute to our community, and the freedom to chase his dreams! These school years are foundational years for all our children, and I hope that together our children will have the opportunity to know truth, create beauty, and practice goodness together through a constant sense of wonder and discovery!
While Peter goes in and out of the back door (we joke with our kids that it is to avoid the paparazzi!) we look forward to getting to know you and your children too!