Posted by: Susan | March 7, 2011

What Ikea taught me about down syndrome.

If you have read my blog for any time you know that my two favorite stores are Trader Joe’s and Ikea.  On Friday I needed to pick up a few things at Ikea for the progressive dinner in our neighborhood Saturday night.  I had agreed that our home would be one of the one’s that would serve the dinner.  It seemed like a good idea at the time until I realized that grown-ups would probably enjoy a real glass instead of a plastic one for their drink.  Oh yes, Ikea has real glasses at great prices.   As I was cruising around the store I discovered this…

and that’s when it hit me.  People make assumptions about me based on how I look!

I mean look at me the white-haired woman who has lots of kids and lives in the traditional house with traditional everything…old and boring.  Really?  You see on the inside I love the above light and want it in my house because as Sam says…”It’s my style”.  I am slowly adding things to change  my house.  I just have to convince Jim because he lives here too.

Nice yawn picture but look how fun it looks with that great Ikea lamp, planter and plant.  What I look like on the outside is not how I look or think on the inside and that is what it is like for our kids with down syndrome.  People make judgements based on what they see, down syndrome, before they find out what our kids think and what they want for their lives.

I may not wear 3 inch high heels but I love fun shoes.

and rugs with patterns like this…

April can’t wear heels (weak ankles) but she can wear flats and go to dances.  One days she hopes to get one of these.Sam may not be able to do  all the work for a regular science class but he stills wants to learn about his favorite subject with kids in that class.  Jake may not be on the school basketball team but he still plays basketball on the intramural school team and the Special Olympics team. Just because we look one way doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t want to participate in our schools, community or workplace.

So there I stood in Ikea with my aha moment.  I mean I know how people look at me and make decisions based on what they see.  I just took how that feels and applied it to my kids.  I really do get this but sometimes I forget it.  I need to continue to help people see my kids and your kids with down syndrome as people first defined by all the abilities and possibilities that are inside them.


Now about that lamp.  Jim and I are talking about where we can put that lamp so we can enjoy it in our home.  Is the lamp different…you bet.  That’s what I love about it. 

Life lesson:  What you see is not what you get.


  1. What a great analogy – and a truth that is common to us all. We do need to try to remember to look a little deeper…. you should see what my inner lamp looks like!!

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE This post!! You go girl–can’t wait to see where the lamp fits or does not fit in to your wonderful home 🙂

  3. Such an excellent post. I, too, love IKEA and TJ’s. 😉 You’re right about making assumptions… I wish you had a “share” button for facebook. My mom’s group is over 50 moms w/ kids with Ds. They’re all young, but they would be so inspired by your writing.

    • I am glad my blog will be helping young moms. I am glad you are able to take a look at what lies ahead. It’s all good here!

  4. so awesome! i need to be better about catching myself doing that. i hate it when people assume things about me too. i change my mind daily about things anyway, so one never knows.
    p.s. if you come to MB we will definitely go for a drink!

  5. Reblogged this on april anecdotes and commented:

    This is as true today as it was when I posted it several years ago.

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