Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Own Shannon Driscoll Writes

Reprinted with permission from the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress February 2011 e-Newsletter

On October 1, 1979, the Pope came to Boston and so did I. My name is Shannon Driscoll and I turned 31 years old on October 1, 2010. I am an adult who was born with Down syndrome. I am the middle child. I have an older sister, Danielle, and a younger sister, Jacqui. Neither of my sisters live at home. This past July, I was the maid of honor in my sister Jacqui's wedding.

My parents tell me that I had early intervention when I was a baby. I went to Tuft's New England Medical Center to the genetics clinic. I went to a program once a month at Children's Hospital Boston. I went to a speech group in Dorchester and went to school when I was 3 years old. I did not have serious medical problems when I was born, but went to a lot more doctors than my two sisters. I have had many sets of tubes in my ears. I am on medicine for a thyroid problem. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea last year, so I have to wear a sleep mask every night. It is not as bad as I thought it would be and I feel more awake and energetic each morning. Basically, I am very healthy. I still go to my pediatrician, Dr. Sisson, when I am sick because my parents and I really like her.

I lived in South Boston until I was 5 years old and have been in Braintree ever since. I went to Boston Public Schools, St. Coletta Day School, and then the Braintree Public Schools. In addition to learning reading and math in elementary school, I starred in many plays such as Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, and Mary Poppins. I always loved school and I still love to learn new things. I take reading, writing, and math at Massasoit Community College one night a week. I never get tired of learning. I have six college credits in child care and I would love to get my associate's degree. Braintree High School was my favorite school. I was in the Project Prove Program for students with special needs and took other classes such as English, Spanish, Italian and Drama. I made many new friends in Project Prove and outside of my class.I am glad my friends accepted me for who I am.

Now that I am out of school, I work at Stop and Shop in Braintree. I was hired as a bagger but then promoted to cashier. I love cashiering but I still help bagging when they need me. I get paid holiday pay, vacations, and raises every year.I am in the union at Stop and Shop. I also attend South Shore Industries in Braintree which is a workshop. I go there when I am not working because I get to see all of my friends.

I am involved in many activities. I belong to the Arc of the South Shore and go on outings one Saturday evening a month. We go to plays, restaurants in the North End, sports events and many other places. I go to Friendship Club in Norwell, where we make dinner, play board games, and just socialize with one another. I also bowl once a week, and play basketball as well as softball. I swim for the Special Olympics on a team known as the SHARCS. I also volunteer on Saturdays in a program called Super Saturdays, which is for young children in Braintree who have special needs. I volunteer at Gillette Stadium to raise money for our activities. For all you football fans please come to the Barbecue Blitz in Section 140 and come to my register. I am usually very busy but I like it this way. I am known as a social butterfly. I love to write when I am home in my bedroom. I also use the computer every day. I email my friends and I belong to Facebook. I recently bought myself a laptop with money I have saved. My mother is happy because now I am not always on her computer.

I have many friends. Three of my girlfriends and I take turns having sleepovers at each of our homes. We watch movies, have "girl time", and just love being together. I also have a best friend.

I am going on a cruise to the Bahamas with my friends in February. This trip is sponsored by Friendship Home in Norwell.

There are many things that I would like to do in the future. I have always loved to write, especially poetry, letters, and in my journals. I really enjoy photography. I also love public speaking and taking care of animals, especially dogs. My favorite dog is my sister's English bulldog named Hazel. Someday in the future I would like to take care of animals and become a veterinarian or a veterinarian's assistant. I would also love to be a public speaker. Since I love to write I would love to write articles or submit my poetry to either a magazine or to a newspaper.

I feel I am entitled to pursue my dreams like my two sisters did. It is harder for me, but so far I have achieved what others have achieved. Things just take me longer.

I have a great family who love and support me, but at 31 years old, I don't like being the only one at home with my parents. I would love to live with my friends who have common interests but for right now, that is not an option because there is no funding for me to be able to live on my own.

Right now, I am engaged to my fiancé, Michael Goodhue. Someday we would like to get married, but this is going to be difficult because I still need to pursue a career I enjoy and I still do not have housing.

Even though I have Down Syndrome, I never give up on my dreams. I have a great life. I love my life.

Thank You.