Celebrate the UPside of Down™ during National Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Dispelling Myths and Smashing Stereotypes

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Dr. Julia Kinder is celebrating National Down Syndrome Awareness Month with a Sweepstakes, Photo Contest, and a Petition to Medical School Faculty across the United States.

Click here for the National Down Syndrome Awareness Month page! Celebrate the UPside of Down™!

Celebrate the UPside of Down!

My ultimate goal is for the birth of every baby with Down syndrome to be celebrated, and for every baby to receive the care required to maximize their developmental potential.

Dr. Julia Kinder, practicing physician, national speaker, and an advocate for children with special needs, is celebrating National Down Syndrome Awareness Month with an online Photo Contest, Sweepstakes, and a very important Petition. These can be found on her website, http://www.JuliaKinder.com. The photo contest gives families of children with Down syndrome an avenue for showcasing their child’s abilities. The sweepstakes offers fun awareness products created by Dr. Kinder while drawing attention to dispelling the myths and stereotypes surrounding Down syndrome. The newly launched petition calls upon medical schools to provide more training on Down syndrome.

“No parent should feel like their baby's life starts out with a death; the death of their dreams for the future, the end of their hope for a happy, healthy child,” said Dr. Kinder, owner of JuliaKinder.com. “But it happens every day, because physicians who deliver the diagnosis of Down syndrome often give inaccurate, incomplete, and negative information that intensifies the unfounded fear of this diagnosis.”

Currently physicians do not receive training on giving the diagnosis of Down syndrome in a productive way, according to Dr. Kinder. Nor do they learn of needed resources for parents and baby. Medical education focuses on the possible health and learning issues, which not every child will encounter. Physicians do not understand what a child with Down syndrome is like outside of the medical aspects. What is crucial to every baby with Down syndrome is that they begin receiving early intervention and therapy immediately. Medical education does not cover this topic, therefore, physicians are missing a crucial piece of information to pass along to new parents.

Dr. Kinder has been a practicing physician for the past decade. However, eight years ago when her daughter was born with Down syndrome, she discovered her medical training did nothing to prepare her for raising a child with Down syndrome.

“Ella is completely healthy and smart, which contradicts everything I learned about Down syndrome,” said Dr. Kinder. “Medical school taught me about a laundry list of health problems and mental retardation, none of which applied to my child. I had no practical information on how to take care of her. I didn’t know she needed to start therapy immediately. When she was born, the doctors and hospital gave me no information or resources. I left the hospital without so much as a pamphlet.”

According to Dr. Kinder, the information on Down syndrome that doctors give to new parents tends to focus on the potential medical and learning problems. Doctors have not been trained to explain to these new parents that a child with Down syndrome is more like other children than they are different, and that many of the medical issues never materialize. Parents leave the hospital with the impression that their child’s prospects for a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life are grim. Unfortunately, many parents admit they struggled to connect emotionally with their baby during those first few months, as if unconsciously attempting to prepare for some awful manifestation of the diagnosis.

“I have decided to tackle this issue head-on,” states Dr. Kinder. “It is unacceptable for the medical community to contribute to a new parent’s fear of their own baby. This negative emotional state can prevent parents from providing the appropriate care their newborn needs. Babies with Down syndrome must start early intervention and therapy immediately - it should not be delayed because doctors fail to give parents complete and accurate information, along with resources for support.”

Dr. Kinder has spent eight years speaking to the medical community, future teachers and therapists, and to the general public regarding Down syndrome, as well as counseled hundreds of new parents. In 2009 Dr. Kinder began blogging on the topic, giving new parents hope and direction. She has devised fun ways to dispel the myths and darkness by promoting positive phrases such as “My kid has more Chromosomes than yours” as well as the “UPside of Down” concept. She encourages others to proudly display the UPside of Down with car decals, shirts, bracelets, and other awareness products that she has developed. Dr. Kinder has created a tribe of families who support each other and spread awareness. Their motto is, “Go beyond just surviving [with Down syndrome] to Thriving - become a Thrivalist!”

“I want to show the world the UPside of Down syndrome and I want to improve the education medical students receive on helping new parents,” said Dr. Kinder. “My ultimate goal is for the birth of every baby with Down syndrome to be celebrated, and for every baby to receive the care required to maximize their developmental potential.”

To get involved and sign Dr. Kinder’s petition please go to http://www.JuliaKinder.com/petition/. To learn more about her website’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month activities and to participate in the celebration, please visit http://www.JuliaKinder.com/DownSyndromeCelebration/.

About Dr. Julia Kinder
Dr. Julia A. Pewitt Kinder is an accomplished national speaker, early childhood education advocate, author and practicing physician. She and husband Mitch reside in Cape Girardeau, Mo., with their three children, Ella and twin boys Paxton and Dexter. Dr. Kinder is licensed to practice in both Missouri and Texas and is in private practice with her brother in Jackson, Missouri. She also serves as a hospice physician for Tri-County Hospice. In addition, Dr. Kinder is a certified fitness instructor and promotes easy ways to incorporate exercise into daily routines. More information about Dr. Kinder can be found on her website at http://www.JuliaKinder.com.

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