The Bottom Line
By Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz; 198 pages. From the cover: "At ages 19 and 22, respectively, Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz shared their innermost thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams, their lifelong friendship, and their experiences growing up with Down syndrome."
The dialogues that make up this book took place from 1990-1993, and were originally published in 1994. The book has now been re-issued with an afterword updating readers on a dozen years of adulthood for its authors. They're enjoyable company, and have interesting insights into DS life, and life in general.
- Offers genuine voices of people with disabilities
- Covers many life areas you may be wondering about with your child
- Photos give a glance at the boys growing up
- A quick, inspiring read
- Afterword catches up with the authors after another dozen years
- Not much in the way of practical advice for helping your child
- The lives of these relatively privileged young men may not be representative
- They're opinionated guys, and you may not agree with all they have to say
- Foreword by Joan Ganz Cooney
Introduction by Emily Perl Kingsley and Barbara Gibbs Levitz
- Chapter 1: About This Book
Chapter 2: Who We Are
- Chapter 3: Our Friendship
Chapter 4: Having Down Syndrome
- Chapter 5: At School
Chapter 6: Having Fun
- Chapter 7: Girls and Sex
Chapter 8: Marriage and Children
- Chapter 9: Important People in Our Lives
- Chapter 10: Beliefs, Traditions, Loss, and Grief
- Chapter 11: Politics and World Affairs
- Chapter 12: Becoming Independent
Chapter 13: Our Future Plans
Guide Review - Book Review: Count Us In - Growing Up With Down Syndrome
When the authors of this engaging Down syndrome memoir were born, doctors told their parents not to even bring them home -- that raising children with such severe disabilities would ruin their marriages and their lives, and that an institution was the best solution. Both sets of parents ignored that advice, and raised two boys that defied those doctors' expectations. Early in Count Us In, Jason imagines what he would say to his obstetrician now: "I will tell him that I play the violin, that I make relationships with other people, I make oil paintings, I play the piano, I can sing, I am competing in sports, in the drama group, that I have many friends and I have a full life."
In a wide-ranging series of conversations, Jason and Mitchell share their accomplishments, and also their doubts, fears and frustrations. Their words have been transcribed faithfully by their parents, without rewriting, and paint a portrait of two spirited and opinionated young men. As the two share their life experiences, it becomes clear that they've had some out-of-the-ordinary opportunities, like appearing on Sesame Street (for which Jason's mom was a writer) and hanging out with politicians and policymakers. But they've also had social difficulties and insecurities about how much independence they'll be able to handle.
An afterword on this re-issue shows that independence has been possible, sometimes tenuously, and that with continued family support and belief they have been able to move on to adulthood. While it might have been nice to hear more from their parents on how to help other children with disabilities find their voices, this two-man testament is well worth reading for anyone -- parents, teachers, and most certainly doctors -- who needs to believe in potential.