"In this sequel to Gifts: Mothers Reflect On How Children With Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives, Kathryn Lynard Soper presents over seventy essays focusing on the life lessons imparted by older individuals with Down Syndrome. Written by grandparents, siblings, parents, teachers, and medical professionals, these writings are realistically inspirational without descending to stereotypes. The editor of this volume is the mother of a son with Down Syndrome and has written about her experience in a memoir, The Year My Son And I Were Born."
-Disability Resources Online
Read the parent testers' reviews for this 2010 NAPPA Honors Award Winner:
"I'd pick it up and read a story or two, think about the story, and think about how I would have dealt with the given situation. I liked that it was not just parents sharing their experiences but pediatricians, siblings, extended family and educational specialists. I especially enjoyed the stories from sisters, as my brother is developmentally delayed. I could understand what they were saying and where they were coming from."
"Rather than being a 'how to' book, this title relates--from all perspectives--how having a person with Down syndrome can enrich your life. It raises awareness, gives hope and breaks down some stereotypes."
"Down Syndrome News readers are likely familiar with the first Gifts, a collection of personal essays written by mothers of children with Down syndrome. This sequel includes essays from a variety of perspectives--family, friends, teachers, medical professionals and more. The book is organized into five sections--the gifts of acceptance, awareness, friendship, courage and joy.
I imagine the authors carefully crafted their stories, hoping to capture the essence of their person’s personality and spirit and wanting the world to know how lucky they feel that their lives have been touched by such an amazing soul. Pick it up and find your favorite!"
-Down Syndrome News, Volume 33. #1
"This sequel to the award-winning Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives offers comfort, hope, and inspiration to families and the wider community in a way that no scholarly document ever could; it can also help to prepare the minds and hearts of expectant parents to receive their new Down syndrome child with love and joy.
These eloquent essays are colorful, heartwarming, and often humorous stories of people who faced the diagnosis of Down syndrome and learned to find in it a cause for celebration rather than for grief and despair; that this is possible might at first come as a surprise to readers, just as it did for many of the contributors. Their writings, however, are filled with words like “light,” “love,” and “pride,” and declarations that they have become better people because of the example of a person with Down syndrome. They speak of having learned to celebrate the ordinary, of having awakened to the truth that everyday life is a gift, and they demonstrate that a diagnosis of Down syndrome, while challenging, no longer denies an individual the ability to live a rich and meaningful life.
The Special Olympics motto: “Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” seems to be the personal motto of many with Down syndrome, leading those who know them to redefine the definition of courage. Often born with heart defects that require surgery, and faced with challenges in learning the skills required for common activities, people with Down syndrome continue to surprise those who know them with their perseverance, courage, acceptance, friendship, and amazing ability to find joy in the simple things of life.
Connie Szarek, a grandmother and contributor of an essay, expressed what members of many other families touched by Down syndrome came to see; she said that her
granddaughter, Rylie, was “that perfect baby we were waiting for; I just didn’t know it then..but I do now.”
Kathryn Lynard Soper is the mother of seven children; her youngest has Down syndrome. She is the author of the memoir, The Year My Son and I Were Born, and editor of the two anthologies in the Gifts series and of The Mother in Me. She is president of the nonprofit Segullah Group and editor-in-chief of Segullah, a literary journal by and for Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) women."
-ForeWord Digital Review
"Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World is a refreshing look at the real and ordinary lives of individuals with Trisomy 21 of all ages; both as touching and as enlightening as the earlier book, Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives.
Gifts 2 shows us through short but powerful character sketches and stories that there is great diversity in the ways children and adults with Down syndrome enrich our communities and the world. Because the focus is on what they bring to us rather than holding them up to a standard of development or accomplishments, we are introduced to each person as an individual. It is not only the superstars among individuals with Down syndrome who we treasure, or who bring out the best in us.
A great deal of information about the potential of babies with Down's Syndrome issues from a medical model where challenges are listed first, or exclusively, rather than describing whole people who happen to have brought an extra copy of chromosome 21 with them. Rather than describing children and adults who are partially disabled by difficulties associated with the syndrome, a dismal picture is painted that is in direct contradiction of the potential, abilities and accomplishments of individuals who have the support and encouragement that allow them to reach their true potential. Individuals with Down syndrome may enjoy a better quality of life and richness of experience than their mainstream peers, and they certainly improve both for those fortunate enough to be counted as friends and advocates.
Most positive, reality-based articles and books providing information about babies and children with Down syndrome discuss the population in general, hoping to inform and raise the hopes and expectations of families, educators and medical professionals through general discussions. Top-selling are those about early intervention, speech therapy and other strategies that encourage our sons and daughters to reach developmental and academic goals. Gifts 2 demonstrates how much individuals with Down syndrome have accomplished in all areas of family and public life.
It has been only in recent decades that people with Down syndrome have been encouraged to tell us their stories from their own perspective, as in Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome by Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz, and the National Geographic Kids article by Melissa Riggio. By raising our expectations for all people with Down syndrome, we allow ourselves the luxury of learning the value of each one, no matter how they might compare in an artificial competition.
There have been powerful stories written by parents, including those in magazines and parenting newspapers, and books like Greg Palmer's Adventures In The Mainstream: Coming Of Age With Down Syndrome, often showcasing individuality and accomplishments. Writing about teens and adults, advocates hope to increase opportunities and support, as well as to eliminate misconceptions and reduce prejudice as they transition to independent living, supported employment, or other options.
Those who know a family member or friend who has Down syndrome, or who have learned or worked with an extraordinary individual with Down syndrome, know it would be as tragic for the rest of us as it would be for individuals with Trisomy 21 if their number continued to diminish or, heaven forbid, they 'disappeared' from the world. In a world of prenatal testing, poor genetic counseling, and fantasies of having a 'perfect' child, the writers in this volume remind us that people with Down syndrome are gifts, too.
Browse at your local bookstore, public library or online retailer for this fascinating book: Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World or its companion, Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives."
-Pamela Wilson, Special Needs Children Editor, BellaOnline, The Voice of Women
"Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World joins a growing body of literature that pushes beyond the scope of medical texts commonly rooted in technical explanations of defects and limitations, to focus on the possibilities, achievements, and fortitude of people with Down syndrome. A companion to Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives, which shared personal experiences of mothers of children with Down syndrome, this collection includes stories by authors with a variety of connections to the condition. Through a series of 76 brief essays (and a couple of poems), these 'agents of positive change,' including parents, grandparents, siblings, coaches, teachers, friends, as well as others, provide a glimpse into how they have been touched by individuals with this genetic phenomenon.
The conversational writing style makes this volume suitable for most ages and backgrounds, from adolescents up. The brevity and multitude of entries allows readers to easily browse the stories and quickly engage in a number of experiences, however also results in few narratives substantially developing plot or character. The repetition of themes, notably the progression from fear based in ignorance and/or clouded by medical complications, to enlightenment discovered through the affection, perseverance, and aptitude of people with Down syndrome, is comforting, yet might verge on dilution of message for some readers. Most essays are preceded by a picture of those discussed in the text, a worthwhile detail to underscore the authentic and personal nature of each account. Overall, this book successfully utilizes, as the editor, herself mother to a child with Down syndrome, brands, 'the chorus of voices,' in order to raise awareness about the significant value the Down syndrome community contributes to this world."
-CAPHIS Consumer Connections
"Differently abled children with Down syndrome can still provide a positive impact on the world. Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World is a collection of essays from family, friends, educators, and more about how they have become better people as a whole through their interactions with people with Down syndrome. An uplifting read for parents, Gifts 2 is a solid and recommended read for any who doubt the abilities of those with Down syndrome to impact the world."
-The Midwest Book Review
"With more and more couples receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis early in a pregnancy and getting a woefully behind-the-times prognosis from their doctor, collections like these that shout out the positive potential for people with DS can be literally lifesaving."
-Terri Mauro, Guide to Parenting Special Needs
Read the entire review at specialchildren.about.com
"A follow-up volume to the original Gifts, this book collects seventy short essays. The stories focus on the gifts of courage, friendship, acceptance, and joy that come to those who work with or love kids with Down syndrome."