Differences Become Similarities with Acceptance and Inclusion

By Brian Beale, The Beale Team, CrossCountry Mortgage LLC

45 minutes after our son Colin was born on December 19, 1998, doctors wheeled him back into the delivery room and told us that he has Down syndrome. While the doctor tried to diagram what Down syndrome is on a cocktail napkin, my wife Mary and I sat in silence, not knowing what the future would hold or how our lives would change starting at that very moment. It wasn’t long before we gathered our emotions and agreed to face the future with nothing but positivity and hope. We started a non-profit called Lil’ Bealsy Tee-Up for Down Syndrome, raising over $250,000 over 15 years for different organizations supporting individuals with special needs, specifically Down syndrome.

Continuing our mission of raising awareness of how much people with Down syndrome have to offer society, I decided to put my background and passion for writing to work, authoring two children’s books: Colin Gets a Chance and the followup story My Name is Colin…and this is who I am. I am honored to say that Colin Gets a Chance was selected to be included in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame library in Cooperstown, New York. Both can be found online at Amazon and major bookstore chains.

Colin Gets a Chance is a story about a young boy with Down syndrome who enjoys being a part of his baseball team but never gets the opportunity to play. He sits on the bench and cheers his teammates on…until his team decides one day it’s time for Colin to get his chance.

the next two paragraphs are excerpts from Colin gets a chance, so this is a good place for the book cover
“Colin may look different than you and me, but his feelings are the same. We took a vote and we all agree. Put Colin in the game.” Tommy added, “Colin may take longer to learn, but none of us care about that. The team decided it was now their turn to cheer for Colin at bat.”

Colin got the winning hit, and this is what he said, ”I know I am be a little different than you, so thanks for letting me play. My biggest dream has finally come true. Thank you for making my day.”

The second book, My Name is Colin…and this is who I am, is a lesson about how people should not be defined by their disability and how using people-first language can help eliminate the stigma. Saying, “Colin is a boy with Down syndrome, not a Down syndrome boy” puts the person before the disability, just as others who may be a fast runner, a good swimmer, a talented musician, or who are tall, short, husky or thin, are not defined by their traits.

This paragraph is an excerpt from My name is Colin, so this is a good place for the book cover
”I was born with something called Down syndrome, but that’s not how I want to be labeled. I take longer to learn things that come easy for you, but I don’t like to be called disabled. Start using people-first language. It brings me so much joy. My name is Colin, and I have Down syndrome. I’m not Colin, the Down syndrome boy.”

The best part about both books is that all illustrations, including the book cover on each book, were done by children and young adults with Down syndrome, truly exemplifying what people with Down syndrome can do if just given the chance.

Author Brian Beale is a Loan Officer at CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC on Saxer Ave in Springfield. Phone: 610-355-8073, Email: [email protected], Website: crosscountrymortgage.com/Brian-Beale