Jack’s Adventure of Magic – Lillian Darnell

August 5 2021

New story from Lillian Darnell …

Once there was a boy named Jack who lived with his mystical family. Jack loved his mystical family but he wished he could have mythical powers like the rest of his family. He felt jealous of his family so one day, he headed off to Magical Unicorn Island.

He stopped at an island called Apple of Music to visit some family relatives. His family relatives said, “Get some rest and watch out for flying manta rays.” And Jack was very confused, about what his relatives said.

But he got some rest for the next day anyways. When Jack woke up the next morning, he was surprised that no one was on the island except for a few little creatures who were called glitter critters.
Jack wondered if he could test out his mythical powers on the glitter critters. He decided to try. So he began to focus and to his surprise, his mythical power made the glitter critter glow and fly for a bit before the power faded into the midst of the magical sun ….

Jack’s Adventure of Magic

 

The 2021 Chromosome 18 Closer Than Ever Family Conference

July 11 2021

The yearly conference has kicked off! Sad that we’re not in person again this year. Fingers crossed for next year! Thank you to those who have worked hard organizing this event.

July 12 2021

2021 Chromosome 18 Conference today and tomorrow. You would think with Lillian being 19, the conference material would not be useful for us any longer. Nope. I’m getting very useful information, and asking lots of questions. Incredibly helpful. Thank you C18 Registry & Research Society.

July 13 2021

We had such a wonderful session this morning for parents/caregivers of self-advocates with 18p-. We missed you Katharine Newman .. So sorry you were having technical difficulties. This is such a beautiful group of humans. So blessed to be a part of it.

During our session, the parent presentation to classrooms came up. So I thought it a good time to repost this for anyone who is not attending conference, or for friends who may be dealing with something other than a chromosome 18 difference.

Here’s one of the last presentations I gave on Lillian’s behalf –

(September 2014) – Lillian’s birthday and the dawn of a new school year are upon us. This was the sixth annual “Lillian” presentation to her classmates. It began in the first grade because her classmates kept asking me “why” questions about Lillian. I figured why have them wondering and drawing erroneous conclusions and choosing to judge her when I can try and help them understand.

The presentation went GREAT! I got lots of questions and one sweet young man bought a copy of my book, D iz for Different, for his aunt. He has a cousin with 22q-. So sweet!

I like to share my presentation publicly because so many other parents are curious about this and some want to take the plunge and do their own presentation. Please use it as you need. I only ask that you let people know where you got the idea or information.

These are my raw notes for the presentation. I add to or skip information as I feel needed.

Lillian and Being Different

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau

(Slide 1) Chocolate Candy Recipe ~ Each chocolate has a recipe – all use cocoa, and dark or milk chocolate
What ingredients make chocolates so different?

Fruit – Cherries, Coconut
Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanut, Hazlenuts
Flavorings – Vanilla, Orange, Strawberry

We are like chocolates – we each have our own special recipe with special ingredients that make us DIFFERENT, UNIQUE, BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING.

Chocolate recipes are usually in a book or written on paper or even in someones head. Our recipes for our bodies are in our genes.

Genes are our recipe for our bodies and they decide:

(Show book … “You’re Full of Genes” by Claudia Zylberberg Ph.D.)
Brown or Blue Eyes
Short or Tall
Straight or Curly Hair
Need Glasses or Not
Have Freckles or Dimples
Have small feet or big feet

Genes decide EVERYTHING about you and your body and how the parts should work. If some genes are missing or duplicated this decides whether something with our body doesn’t work.

Another way to explain is that genes are all of the instructions the human body needs to function. All of our bodies genes are organized into structures called chromosomes.

(Slide 2) Let’s look at this like a Chocolate Candy Cookbook. If the recipes are genes, then each chapter (Chocolate with Nuts Chapter, Chocolate with Fruit Chapter) is like a chromosome. The chapters, or chromosomes, make up the book – in our case, the book of life.

(Slide 3) Chromosome, DNA, Gene Slide

(Slide 4) There are 22 numbered pairs of chromosomes, plus two sex chromosomes (male or female). Each chromosome is numbered and each chromosome has a waistband. The waistband separates the short arm (p) and long arm (q) of the chromosome. (slide 4)

(slide 5) Lillian has a very unique recipe (genes) unlike any of you. A section of her recipe is missing – deleted (called a chromosome abnormality). A piece of her #18 chromosome is missing – the short arm of her #18 is deleted, so it’s called 18p-.

What happens if you leave out an ingredient for a recipe?

(slide 6) Lillian has to work harder at doing many of the things that are easy for you. She’s had to do this since being a baby. Things like turning over, holding her head up, crawling, walking, making sounds, cutting with scissors, eating, writing, talking.

Lillian’s mouth has to work so much harder to chew and swallow and speak.

Her hands have to work harder to do things like writing, cutting, make crafts, opening packages.
Her body has to work harder at walking, running, and staying balanced.

She’s very nervous, startled and scared about loud sudden noises (thunderstorms, fire alarms for drills, helicopters)

Lillian uses an iPod Touch with an application installed that allows her to type in what she needs or wants to say and press a speak button. Talk about Proloquo2Go. She can also simply type what she wants to say in the notes section or texting section of the iPod. She doesn’t really use P2G as much as she did when she was younger.

Lillian has all the words and things she needs and wants to say in her mind. She has problems articulating it (saying it) clearly.

She is just the same as the rest of you in many ways. She likes to read (mysteries, non-fiction books and friendship books), loves listening to a variety of music, she likes french fries, hot dogs, meatloaf, donuts, and she loves going for walks, taking pictures, and telling and listening to jokes.

Lillian loves the stars, moon and sun (astronomy) and loves dancing and just being silly. She’s passionate about the weather. She tracks the weather every day!

I want to share some ideas and thoughts with you on how you can be awesome, supportive, and helpful friends and classmates to one another and to Lillian! I want to make sure you understand I’m not solely talking about Lillian with how to be supportive. This is for all of you.

Encourage one another if you see any of your classmates or Lillian having a hard time.
Lend a helping hand if you see one of your classmates struggling.

Be patient with Lillian if you don’t understand what she has just said ~ encourage her to use her iTouch to tell you what she’s trying to say or write it down or verbally spell the word for you.

Be patient with one another too.

Take that first step and ask Lillian what she did over the weekend or about her likes, dislikes ~ questions you would ask your fellow classmates and friends. You will have to wait longer for an answer; but the good feelings you get from showing kindness and friendship to someone who is a little different will outweigh the amount of time it takes Lillian to respond.

This goes for any of your classmates. If you see a classmate all alone, take that first step. Go over and start a conversation with him or her. Also remember to respect if that person chooses to be left alone. Some times we just need alone time.

(Slide 7 & 😎 Team TLC and Different iz Good

Now, let’s switch gears a bit and talk about being different. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be YOU. We all, at some point, feel like we don’t fit in and feel like we are different. That’s because we are. We are uniquely us, we are just as we were meant to be.

Most times we chase after trying to fit in. Fit in with the cool kids, the loud kids, the fun kids, the popular kids, the crazy kids. You may not understand this now, but chasing after trying to fit in comes back to haunt us later in life. It becomes a habit and then we chase after friendships, relationships, careers. The easiest and most fun route to take in life is to just be YOU and be grateful for whatever it is that makes you YOU!

Before we can accept and be kind to others and to those with differences, we must first … Follow the link to read the full presentation and letter to the parents of classmates …

Latest News: Sixth Annual Lillian Presentation

2021 Chromosome 18 Conference – Thank you to the siblings who participated in the Sibling Panel. Beautiful, and honest, as always. I took this picture before everyone was connected. 💜💜💜 GREAT job Thomas!! xoxo

Whew! All done with the 2021 Chromosome 18 Conference, ending with the always fun Starfish Dance. I’m pooped. That was two full days! ❤️❤️❤️ Love you C18 family. ❤️❤️❤️

Hallelujah – Camilla Gets Respite

June 22 2021

It has been 1 year and 8 months (October 2019) since I’ve had respite. I didn’t realize just how much I needed this until right this minute, typing this. I am in tears.

Hallelujah times infinity! Sweet, blessed relief. She is going to try and stay a full 7 days, as she needs respite, too!! 🤣😂

Hot dam*, let’s party! And by party I mean, do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Perhaps extra movie nights. Enjoy the quiet. Extra reading. Extra relaxing. MINUS being needed every 5 minutes. Ahhhhhh ….

And time for some kitchen dancing …

June 29 2021

Lillian came home today, arriving about 1:30 this afternoon. She hasn’t stopped talking since. 🤪 Did she not talk the entire time she was gone? 🤣😂🤣 We were outside taking in the wild sky. Earlier we had a freaky, huge dust cloud blow through and then purple, pink, yellow, and orange colors. Photos to follow.

A couple of “I’m too old for this shit!” messages from my mom, yet, they all made it the full 7 days! Wahooo!!

Lillian’s Imaginarium – Now on Etsy

May 1 2021

Hey! Hey! Here’s the huge announcement regarding Lillian Darnell’s creations!

I have been working on this for months, with the help of a very incredible friend! Thank you to Kate Raina for guiding me, and getting Lillian’s creations in the proper format for digital printing and professional printing.

There are more items to add, I just needed to get this thing “live” to push myself! If you use this forum, please favorite Lillians Imaginarium. And please let me know if you see anything out of sorts. I have no idea what I’m doing, I just figure it out as I go along. Thanks to everyone who cheers us on, and supports all of our creations. Oceans of love to all of you! xoxo

The Shop is titled, Lillian’s Imaginarium. You can find it here …

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LilliansImaginarium

Lillian Darnell – First Time Voting

October 23 2020

It is done. I normally wouldn’t take so many pictures. Yet, this was Lillian’s first time. She can’t/won’t wear a mask so she didn’t get to walk it in to the official ballot box at Raleys – took me about 2 minutes. 💙🌊💙

When Lillian reluctantly agreed to register to vote last year while we were getting her ID, she had no intention of voting. I suggested she might change her mind, and this way she’d be ready, just in case. I asked her last night why she changed her mind, deciding to vote. She said, “The United States needs me to vote.” She researched the candidates and the questions for hours. Congratulations, Lillian Darnell!!! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈

Throwback Post: One Blood Test, One Phone Call, One Moment in Time

**THROWBACK POST**

November 3 2015:

The article I contributed to Interaction, which is a multidisciplinary journal for the Australian Institute On Intellectual Disability, has just been published. Here’s a brief description of what and why I was asked to contribute: “looking at creativity in how we work and interact with people with intellectual disability. The other theme I am interested in exploring is empathy and how this “works” within our relationship building within intellectual disability”

Excerpt from the article: “One blood test, one phone call, one moment in time, drastically changed the direction of my life forever. I know more about genetics, chromosomes, DNA, motor skills, verbal skills, and now emotional and behavioural issues than I ever thought I would need or want to know. ……. I thought I had life pretty much planned at that point and for a while this brief phone call seemed to have caused my life to break apart like a melting iceberg with pieces scattering here and there. Looking back now, all that was brought into my life, all that occurred, all that began, and all that ended were meant to happen for my own growth and enlightenment. An enlightenment I feel spreads far beyond myself and my family as I believe we are all connected.”

My article is on page 30. However, the entire journal is excellent! You’ll need a chunk of time to read it as it’s short story length at around 4,000 words. I encourage anyone who is moved to subscribe to this wonderful publication! Enjoy and please feel free to share and/or forward to anyone you think would benefit! With oceans of love … xoxo

Click here to read the digital version of the journal. The access code is: K9HqOa

My article is on page 30. However, the entire journal is excellent! You’ll need a chunk of time to read it as it’s short story length at around 4,000 words.

I encourage anyone who is moved to subscribe to this wonderful publication to do so! Enjoy and please feel free to share and/or forward to anyone you think would benefit! With oceans of love … xoxo

PDF version: Interaction Volume 28 Issue 4

Lillian and Camilla October 2020 Date Day

October 10 2020

Yesterday was the Lillian and Camilla October 2020 Date Day

First stop: I picked up an order of fries for Lillian and we had a great lunch at home.

Next stop: A trip to Wilbur May Arboretum. So much gorgeousness = tons of photos!

Last stop: Lillian picked out her pumpkin and chose a sugar cookie with red icing, in the shape of an apple.

Nearly Done with the Lillian Turned 18 Buried in Paperwork Palooza

February 19 2020:

Another one down, one more to go for the Lillian-turned-18-buried-in-paperwork-palooza. Power of Attorney for financial matters signed and notarized this afternoon. Last one is the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions and End of Life Decisions. I need to discuss this one with Lillian more to make sure she understands it all. And, just a fun photo from happier times for us … Book signing for Lillian in June 2019 at Barnes & Noble.

Feelings of Relief and Winning at Life

February 12 2020

Paperwork (loads of it) turned in for Lillian’s Age 18 Redetermination for SSI … Another one done! Only had to wait about 2 hours just to turn in paperwork (I wanted a date stamp on it as I’ve had things get “lost” before.) Wahooo!!! A beautiful photo to match the feeling of relief … Ahhhhh ….

Winning at life! Just took a really long, hot shower, turned the water off, and thought, “Um, I don’t think you actually used any soap, girl! You just stood there under the running water!” Winning = I realized it BEFORE I dried off and got out! Wahooo! 😜😂