No one knows what is going on in Daniel's head,
but it's easy to guess.
When he stands in front of the mirror holding a broom handle and moaning and skrieking off key, the way only he can,
He sees himself as a famous singer.
When he builds multiple towers with his blocks,
He sees himself as a great architect.
When he makes a bunch of marks on a piece of paper and shows it off proudly,
He sees himself as a great artist.
When kids call him moron, stupid, or retard: he is mean right back,
Because he doesn't see himself that way.
When he attempts to imitate anything his brother or sister do,
He sees himself as a typical child of his mother and father.
When he talks fast and unintelligibly to classmates,
He sees himself as being able to talk like everyone else.
When he winds up with a baseball and it flies off in the wrong direction,
He sees himself as a great pitcher.
When he does arithmetic with counters or works on his vocabulary with flash cards,
He sees himself as a serious thinker.
When he teases the girls on the bus,
He sees himself as a great lover.
When he plays with his friend Mark who also has Down syndrome,
He sees himself as a great friend.
And he is that.
When he lets out a laugh you have to laugh with him and
He sees himself as a great entertainer.
And he is that.
But usually for Daniel there is a difference between the way he sees himself and the way others see him. and though he will never be a great singer, architect, artist, speaker, athlete or scholar in our minds; in his mind, he is the best. For discovering this simple truth at such a young age, he certainly deserves our respect and admiration. Better yet, maybe we can learn something from him.
And, perhaps, even though he doesn't see himself that way, maybe what Daniel is, more than anything else,
is a teacher.