Welcome to Just Juniors

In September of 2008, my 7th daughter Samara was born 9 weeks early. 4 weeks later, she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. My self-therapy in learning to fully embrace her diagnosis involved designing t-shirts that portrayed Down Syndrome in a positive light. It is from this that my business, designing disability awareness products, has grown.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Some new designs at last....

Well, I finally dug the old laptop out of storage. The one that has Photoshop on it, but also has the distinct disadvantage of the fan not being powerful enough to keep it cool! I have been itching to do some more designs for a while now, so here are the latest 4....

This one is customisable, so you can put in your own childs name and disability.

For the boys. And.....

For the girls!

And for those who are a little bit older!

Not many, I know, but it takes so long to upload them all to Cafe Press! Hopefully now that I have dug this computer our of hiding, I will get quite a few more done.

I have quite a collection of sayings, and am slowly working my way through them. But what I really need is to hear what you would like! So far I have made a few designs for those who wanted something specific to their childs disability, and I have learned a lot along the way. I am always open to new ideas, so feel free to share in the comments section.

On a more personal note, we have our 2nd eldest daughter staying with us from Christchurch, New Zealand. She heads back on Tuesday, but is leaving us for Brisbane tomorrow :( For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would want to be living there right now, let alone 2 of my children, but I guess at 22 and 19, they consider themselves indestructable!

Samara has been having a difficult winter, with me spending copious amounts of time sitting up in bed with her so she can breathe. Then to make things interesting, her eardrum burst the other day, due to an infection. This could prove to be a problem, as she is due to have her grommets replaced in the next few weeks, so it could affect the surgery dates. We have been spending most of our time at home, trying to keep her away from all the bugs going around. But, I'm not convinced it's really working!!

Disability Services, out here in the middle of nowhere, has taken a big Government funding cut, and we are now loosing our Local Area Co-ordinators. They were such an awesome couple (husband and wife were both employed there), and now we have just had to say goodbye to them. Roma won't be the same for many people without them.

Roma also lost a dear little treasure this week. Bethany Waldron was a young girl with Cerebral Palsy. She was known by pretty much everyone in this small country town. In fact, the town had just rallied and raised $30,000 for a wheelchair lift to be added to their van. But she spent the last couple of weeks fighting off pnuemonia, and finally succumed on Thursday morning. I didn't know her well. I am a newbie to town. But still, my heart is feeling very sad and heavy. How can one ever reconcile the death of a child?

Now I am feeling sad. And don't feel like saying much else. So I'll leave it there for now. Hopefully I'll be a bit cheerier next time. xxx

Monday, June 27, 2011

The use of the R word

There has been much talk about the use of the 'R' word lately. There is a massive campaign to try and stop its use. Many people have tried to explain why it is so important. But no-one has touched on it in such a 'stop me in my tracks' kind of way as Dave Hingsburger. His article is reproduced in full (with his permission) below. You can link to the article here http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2010/08/people-who-are.html

The People Who 'ARE'

It's in the press again. I search to find out the context of the word. I see debates all over the web, people bemoaning the 'politically correct' and the 'word police' and making ridiculous claims about having to ban the concept of a 'fire retardant'. Last I looked there's never been a protest about products that protect from fire. Last I looked there's only ever been protests about the use of a word that demeans a group of people.

No matter what the fearless defenders of freedom of speech say, there is a huge difference between a word to describe something that slows fire and someone who learns differently. There's a huge difference between a thing and a person - but, no, maybe not. After reading their diatribes regarding their freedom to spit out hurtful words, they may, really, not see people with disabilities as fully human with a human heart capable human hurt.

People mock the concept of respectful language regarding disability. People make odd arguments about the latest gaffe by ... no, I won't say her name here ... they say 'she was saying that of herself not anyone else' - um, so? The word she used was one referring, not to a commercial product, but to an oppressed minority. Yet the debate rages on and the fierceness of the attack by those who are proponents of the use of hate language are both hysterical and who often purposely miss the point. One wonders what's at stake - their personal liberty to hurt others?

It's time to recognize that the 'R' word is an attack against who people with with intellectual disabilities 'are', it is an attack against the group that they belong to. It is like other words that exist to slur an entire people, unacceptable. The fact that people do not see the seriousness of the word and the attack it represents is simply a result of the fact that they do not take the 'people' who wear that label seriously. The concerns of those with intellectual disabilities have always been diminished and trivialized. There is a sneaking suspicion that they 'don't understand, poor dears', that they 'miss the point, little lambs' so therefore their anger need not be feared as justified.

The people who 'ARE' what the 'R' word refers to have a long history.

They have been torn from families and cast into institutions.

They have been beaten, hosed down, over medicated, under nourished, sterilized, brutalized, victimized.

They have been held captive, have been enslaved, have had their being given over to the state.

They are the group in society most likely to be physically, sexually and financially abused.

They are the group least likely to see justice, experience fair play, receive accommodation or support within the justice system.

They are the group most likely to be bullied, most likely to be tyrannized, most likely to be the target of taunts.

They are the least likely to have their hurt taken seriously, physical hurt, emotional hurt, spiritual hurt.

They are most likely to be ignored when they speak of pain, have their words diminished by an assumption of diminished capacity.

They are the least likely to ever be seen as equal, as equivalent and entirely whole.

They are the victim of some of the most widespread and pervasive prejudices imaginable.

They are those that the Nazi's thought unworthy of life, they are those targeted by geneticists for non-existence, they need fear those who wear black hats and those who wear white coats.

They are educated only under protest, they are included as a concession rather than a right, they are neighbours only because petitions failed to keep them out.

They are kept from the leadership of their own movement, they are ignored by the media, their stories are told to glorify Gods that they do not worship.

That they are a 'people' is questioned even though they have a unique history, a unique voice, a unique perception of the world.

That they are a 'community' is questioned even though they have commonality, they have mutual goals, they have a collective vision of the future.

That they are have a legitimate place at the table is questioned simply because no one's ever offered a seat.

They are a people.

They ask for respect and receive pity.

They ask for fair play and are offered charity.

They ask for justice and wipe spittle off their face.

They ask to silence words that brutalize them and their concerns are trivialized.

They ask to walk safely through their communities and yet bullies go unpunished.

They ask to participate fully and they are denied access and accommodation and acceptance.

And this is NOW.

This is the people who have walked the land of the long corridor, who have waited at the frontier of our bias to finally be here, now. They have survived. They have come home. They have continued, silently and without fanfare, to take hold of freedom and live with dignity. They have given everything they have for what others take for granted. Their civil liberties are perceived as 'gifts' as 'tokens' and as 'charity'. Their rights are seen as privileges. Their movement is, as of yet, unacknowledged. They are a people recently emancipated, new citizens, who are tentatively discovering their voice.

It is a voice not yet heard.

It is a voice not yet respected.

It is a voice not yet understood.

But it is speaking.

And when it is finally heard. The world will change.

The 'R' word is an attack on a people who know discrimination. Tremble when you say it. Because those who should know better will be held accountable to those who know best.