“When we tell stories, we touch hearts.” -Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, a Canadian philosopher and humanitarian who welcomed people with disabilities into his home wrote, “When we tell stories, we touch hearts.” After I received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome with our daughter Elyse, it was the words and stories of other parents that would mend my heart.

Common Threads is a blog project, a compilation of stories written by Canadian individuals with Down syndrome and their family members. Each story serves to support, advocate and inspire.

  • Support individuals with Down syndrome and their family through real stories.
  • Advocate alongside individuals with Down syndrome for equal rights by showcasing their truth and humanity.
  • Inspire and change perceptions; to educate in matters of the heart.

Common Threads: chromosomes are thread-like structures and what we all share in common is our humanity.

When we share our stories, we weave together common threads, themes in the universal matters of the heart that allow us to stand united and be strengthened as a community.

Common threads is a place to share our trials and triumphs, our joys and our grief, our tears of sadness and our many tears of gladness.

Our stories are real and imperfect. Our stories matter and have heart. Our stories are human as we all are.

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How to Submit Your Story to Common Threads:

Please consider submitting your uniquely Canadian story if you are a self-advocate (person with Down syndrome) or parent or other family member to a person with Down syndrome. Stories should be a maximum of 1500 words and pertain to the life of an individual with Down syndrome. Your story can be of the everyday; heartfelt, comical, or tragic; cover a lifespan or a moment in time, as long as it serves to either support, advocate or inspire*. Please do your best to edit and revise your story and submit a polished draft. To submit, please use the webform below. You will be notified of receipt and if your piece has been selected before it appears on Common Threads.

*In submitting, you are agreeing to allow Adelle Purdham to reprint, edit (for grammar, spelling, syntax and clarity), and post to her site Submitting does not guarantee your story will be published. Some stories may be considered for a future publishable compilation. Thank you!

Believing is Seeing, by Maggie Edwards

You know that scene at the end of The Polar Express where the main character rings the bell, and he can finally hear it? Or that scene in The Santa
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A Star is Born, by Emily Boycott

Editor’s Note:  Emily and I sat together in a local café as she wrote her story.  We brainstormed ideas together, then as it came time to write the first words,
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Gra’ma Valley Says…by Valerie Hennell

(The following is an excerpt from Snapshot of a Soul Place in the land of special needs, an illustrated memoir written and illustrated by Kari Burk celebrating 25 years with
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Inclusion by Kari Burk

(The following is an excerpt from the book Snapshot of a Soul Place in the land of special needs, written and illustrated by Kari Burk, with much gratitude and thanks
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The Perfect Match, by Anna Vos

The day that we said “YES” in May 2014 changed our lives forever. We were in the process of our second adoption from Ethiopia. This included mountains of paperwork, visits
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High Five by Debbie Boycott

Presents come in all different wrappings and packages. Of course, we need to open the gift to see the wonders it contains. Not so different, I think, when you are
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The Story of Al the Star by Allan McNeill

My name is Allan McNeill. I am a person with Down syndrome. I will tell you what my life is like with an extra chromosome in every cell in my
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An Ode to my Son on the Eve of your First Birthday by Kim Reid

Third (and final!) Chapter. A year ago today I was wishing I hadn’t waited so long. I was regretting my foolish pride, and the idea that I knew enough about
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Expectations by Karen Ellis Kendel

It’s funny how as parents we initially expect that our children will be perfect, despite knowing deep inside that we all have our flaws. I remember being heartbroken when my
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Waiting for a Snowflake to land on my Tongue – by Jennifer Crowson

One of the first things I read when learning about having a child with Down syndrome was that he will do everything other children do, it will just take him
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Superbaby – by Dan Purdham

Okay, I caved and did it. Why am I writing an entry for Adelle? Well, first, when we started out on this journey, my sister suggested I make a guest
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