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The Same but Different

By Guest Blogger Ashley Heath 

Hello! My name is Ashley and I am so lucky to have a twin sister with Down syndrome, Ariel. Growing up, I never really saw a difference between us. We celebrated our birthdays on the same day, dressed alike, and liked most of all the same things. From the time we started talking, we would proudly tell anyone and everyone that we were twins. Everyone believed us when we were little, but as we got older less and less people were convinced. Soon, when I started playing sports, like softball, she became my biggest fan. During high school, you could see us going to football games on Friday nights and softball games on Saturday's. Her and I went to prom together and enjoyed every minute of my senior year together. I didn’t notice the exclusion until I graduated high school and Ariel was beginning her own senior year. When we were in school together, I was her advocate. I was the one taking her to the games, pep rallies, and meetings. When I moved to college, there wasn't anyone trying to include her like I did. She began to become less and less interested about school and didn't want to go at all. She slowly began to be more involved in sports and special activities. She plays softball and bowls competitively for Special Olympics. She has many metals to show off and is proud of her accomplishments, as am I. There is nothing special about her needs. She is a loving, fun, energetic (add own adjectives) person to be around. She deserves to be included and treated the same as everyone else. I am proud to be her sister. 

Ashley was a student in Dr. Cristina Santamaria Graff’s Family as Faculty class in the Fall of 2018 at IUPUI. If you are interested in finding out more about the Family as Faculty project, please check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyasFaculty/ .