1. If there is any option over colour then pink is the only one you should consider. Ideally, pink and glittery. In fact, everything should be pink and glittery, full stop.
2. Chocolate is good. If something has chocolate on it or in it, then it must be good. Chocolate ice cream is even better. Sweets however, are not great – why have sweets when you could have chocolate?
3. You don’t have to live life at 100mph. It’s okay to walk at a slower pace – you see more of the world that way. It’s okay to take time to talk, instead of rushing conversations, you listen better that way.
4. There is something magical about dancing. Dancing makes people happy. You can dance wherever and whenever you like. If there isn’t any music, then sing but just make sure you dance with no inhibitions. Who cares what you look like? If there is someone with you, make them dance too.
5. Music is brilliant. If you listen to enough of it, you’ll know what the song is as soon as the first notes are played. You’ll also know all of the words and be able to sing along…and dance.
6. Hugs are medicinal. Everyone should have plenty of hugs as part of their daily routine. Proper bear hugs which squeeze happiness into your body.
7. When you see someone you know, squeal their name, smile and give them a big hug. Act as if you haven’t seen them in ages, even if it has just been a day.
8. Reading is an escape route. You can read about so many different adventures. Reading opens up the world, you can learn about anything by reading about it and reciting it to anyone who will listen. The best time to read is late at night when you ought to be going to sleep. Don’t let that stop you though, illicit reading when your parents have told you to turn your light out is the best kind of reading.
9. Routine is paramount, whoever thinks that it isn’t hasn’t seen the world through the eyes of a child with DS. Everyone should know that when you come in from school, you get changed then have a sausage roll and a piece of fruit. Regardless of whether your sister is offering freshly baked cake that smells delicious (but you are allowed to comment on it smelling good).
10. If you find it funny, laugh. It doesn’t matter what people think, laugh big hearty laughs that can be heard a mile away. It is good for your health. Oh, and on that note, tell jokes until you are blue in the face. Knock knock jokes are the best but that goes without saying.
11. The art of compassion is sacred. You can tell how people really feel by looking in their eyes, ask if they are okay and really mean it. Listen to the response properly….and then give them a big hug anyway.
12. Blending words can sometimes be a really great way to express yourself. For example if something is beautiful and pretty – it is prettiful. Kind of obvious really!
13, Having an imaginary friend means there is always someone there to talk life through with. They remind you to turn the light out when leaving a room and help you remember what to pack in your school bag. Have you tried talking to your imaginary friend recently? You never know how useful they could be nowadays!
14. Life is exciting, everything can be an adventure if you choose to see it that way.
15. When something feels unachievable to you, or people are saying you can’t do it, don’t let that stop you – you can, will, achieve whatever you put your mind to. Another great feeling? Proving people’s preconceptions wrong.
I first wrote “Things Alice has taught me” in 2012 for World Down’s Syndrome Day and published it on my Marathon running blog.