One of the first questions I get when some asks about Becky is, â€œdid I know she had Down syndrome before she was born?â€ and the answer is, â€œNoâ€.Â In fact, when the nurse whisked her away, I wondered what was going on – everything seemed normal…Â Soon, my doctor came back into the room and announced to me that he was pretty sure my tiny baby had Down syndrome. When they brought her back to me, she seemed normal… she looked like a baby… she acted like a baby… she cried and she wanted to eat like a baby.Â I had no experience with anyone with Down syndrome before, so I wasnâ€™t sure what it all meant.
Back in my room, the routine was the normal baby routine.Â Feeding, sleeping and changing diapers are pretty standard even for Down syndrome babies.Â When my pediatrician came in, I thought I might get an explanation of what Down syndrome would mean for my daughter and our family.Â I was disappointed in his explanation.Â Everything will be slower and we donâ€™t know how much – it varies.Â But he told me to take her home and treat her â€œnormallyâ€ and we have done that ever since.
We started therapy at 1 month old and met the best Developmental Therapist there is!Â She taught me that Becky would be able to do things, but that she would not do them automatically like â€œnormalâ€ kids.Â It was our job to help her to learn each step in the development toward whatever she wanted to do.Â We had to break down the steps into bite size pieces that Becky could learn. She taught me that early on, Becky would be able to keep up with the developmental milestones in life, but as she got older, the gap would continually widen. I also learned that Becky would be very habitual and that I wanted her to learn things right the first time and practice them right because once a pattern was set, it would be hard to break.Â The early intervention speech therapist helped us to do things that would help with her speech later in life.Â All the therapists were so beneficial to us in those early years.Â Everything the therapists did for 1/2 hour twice a week, I did daily at home all the time.Â This was the beginning of Beckyâ€™s home schooling.
As with our other children, of whom I had 3 others with disabilities, we never believed that God would disable their ability to please Him.Â Character first training always applied to our disabled children the same as it applied to everyone else.Â Loving and serving God was and still is first and foremost.
After a year and a half of public school â€œspecial educationâ€, we brought Becky back home and continued the work I had always done with her.Â Becky was academically home schooled with â€œnormalâ€ kids from then on.Â She plays piano, is a green belt in Kenpo Karate, downhill skis with Special Olympics, reads and writes at about 4th grade level.Â She gave a speech at her graduation ceremony. She told her class that they needed to be servant leaders like Jesus.Â To us, sheâ€™s pretty normal.Â She thinks sheâ€™s normal, she just canâ€™t drive.
All of Beckyâ€™s life I have tried to remember the first pediatricianâ€™s advice to keep life as â€œnormalâ€ as possible.Â I have also remembered the Developmental Therapistâ€™s words that as she gets older, the gap will get wider.Â Pushing her to grow and excel within her limits gets harder and harder, but we know that God knows the plans He has even for her, plans for a future and a hope.Â Graduation was a hard milestone as we watched all those successful home schoolers go off to college…, but little did we know, we would soon be inspired to do the same.
At the National Down Syndrome Congress Conference this year, we were convinced that Becky too, could go to college.Â She has started Community Education classes at the local community college and hopes to take Speech Communication classes some day.Â In the meantime, we have started the iDream program at College of Western Idaho in the Community Ed program where she and her friends take their own classes and feel like real college students. Â Â Her first big speaking engagement was to bring the message from the NDSC conference to the Treasure Valley at the 2009 Buddy Walk where she gave a speech in front of 1200 people!Â I think we have found her calling â€“ Self-Advocate Speaker.
Since that time, she has spoken to many varied audiences such as church groups, school children, community groups, as well as the local Treasure Valley Down syndrome group.Â Since 2009, she has been on the board of the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association and has been thier public relations speaker.Â Telling folks about Down syndrome has been her passion, as she has spoken at the Buddy Walks, World Down syndrome day, and various fundraising events.Â All her videos can be found at www.youtube.com/lostholman
In the last few years, since high school, Becky has become a health fanatic, losing 38 pounds!Â She continues to grow and develop at a surprising rate.Â Never before did we focus on supplements, but we are now becoming a beleiver!Â Becky’s second job, next to Self Advocate Speaker, is to be a health coach to her friends.Â She is using and recommends Isagenix Nutritional Products to all her friends.Â Her website is www.livinmydream.isagenix.com
In August of 2011, Becky, her sister, and her mom will be starting a new page in Alpine, TX.Â Becky will miss her friends in Idaho, but is looking forward to new friends in Texas.Â It will be a great adventure!