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Down Syndrome Awareness Month Story– Ella

ella-down-syndrome-awareness-monthThis story was submitted by Lisa Pallini about her daughter, Ella’s inclusion in church.

Inclusion was not even in my vocabulary when my daughter, Ella, was born. The older she gets the more I appreciate all the adjustments that have been made for her. When she was born she went to our church nursery like every other infant.  The only difference was that most children moved from the nursery to Children’s Church at the age of three years old.  The catch was that the child had to be potty trained and that was nowhere in our future at three.  The director of the nursery pulled me aside one day and said that Ella was welcome in the nursery as long as I wanted her there, so she stayed until she was four.  The director of Children’s Church asked about Ella joining her class and I explained why she was not there.  Accommodations were made for her to attend and she’s been attending ever since.  She’s older than the other children and sometimes does not understand everything that is being discussed, but she loves to go and the other children are willing to help her.  Ella also attends Sunday school.  She has been in the same class since she started. She is with much younger students but she loves the teacher so much and they have such a tight bond that neither of them wants to change.  With the statistics of Special Needs families that do not attend church because of lack of programming for special needs children being so high, I am especially thankful for our church family at Calvary Baptist Church.  They have made adjustments for Ella that benefit our whole family and I have no doubt they will help many more families (like they have helped mine) in the future!