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MARK and ME

A Father's Life-Changing Odyssey
Beside a Son with Down Syndrome

How I Discovered His Disabilities Are His Unique Gifts

by Paul B Taylor

 
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In the beginning

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ABOUT

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Today

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MEET MARK

Mark through the years

Mark as an infant

Mark as an infant

Mark as an infant

Mark as an infant

Mark as a youth

Mark as a youth

Mark as a youth

Mark as a youth

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Mark school pictures

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Mark as a teenager

Mark as an adult

A couple of funny things our boys remember: Mark asking them if they shaved and one time supposedly wanting to order Papa John’s pizza by dialing 911 . . . He and Danny taught me that it was important to brush your tongue as well as your teeth.

-A family friend about Mark’s early years

A Parent's Vision

We developed a mission statement for Mark at the beginning of our attempts to integrate Mark into the regular classroom setting and shared it with teachers, administrators, aides, and others. We wanted them to understand our goals and the underlying principles of our advocacy, hoping they would adopt the approach and spirit we were sharing with them.

Mission Statement

As parents and guardians for Mark, the following are inherent aspects of our advocacy on his behalf.


Mark is a special child entrusted to us by a loving God to bless our lives and those around him. He has unique needs but also unique gifts. To honor that trust and responsibility we have for him, we pledge that until the day he returns home to his Heavenly Father, we will seek out those, whether young or old:

  • who respect him as a person

  • who desire the best for him

  • who perceive within him the capacity to enlarge

  • who realize that he too can contribute

  • who recognize his weaknesses but have the gift to teach him, such that his weaknesses become strengths

 

Mark will become a meaningful member of society, contributing in ways that only he can, which gift will be recognized by those who have the eyes to see.

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Teacher Comments

As a primary teacher with Mark in my classroom, I have always felt that we learned as much from Mark as he learned from us. I include teachers, students, and administrators in that group. 

We had many meetings to discuss Mark and his progress. I appreciated your expectations for Mark, as it helped me set the tone for the classroom and others.

 
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# 1

Homeward Bound

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Peace My Child
Thy Voice Was Heard

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Two Projects Coming in 2022​

  • The Leaf That Fell in Summer (Late Summer)

  • Beyond the Grave - Lessons from Mark's Grandpa (Fall)

My Writing - Two Areas of Focus

One

We all face challenges in our lives. I write about my challenges and how I deal with them, sometimes more successfully than others. Outside influences assist me in this journey including family, friends, and faith all playing critical roles in helping me see the forest for the trees. Frequently we can assist others dealing with some of the same issues we confront because they are too close to their own trees while we are not, and thus we are in a position to help them. All need periodic assistance to transcend the trials of this life and enhance our personal relationships.

Two

The second area deals with life after this one. My belief in another life is the primary factor shaping my outlook on what this temporal existence is and should be. This life is a preparatory state. The dilemma we all must resolve during our lives is why hardships and challenges are how we develop the attributes the next life requires.

Collection

The Leaf that Fell in Summer is a collection of three lengthier poems addressing formidable challenges in our lives.

  1.  Written to family friends caring for a terminally ill young daughter who soon passed. Paul wrote it from the perspective of a parent holding the child in her last few days.

  2. Reflects Paul’s feelings upon the death of an adult daughter in her mid-20s who died from a brain tumor.

  3. This poem deals with Paul's struggles during a period of taxing temporal circumstances and how h eventually came out of the darkness.

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# 2

The Leaf that
Fell in Summer

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Beyond the Grave -
Lessons from
Mark's Grandpa

The second work coming later in 2022 is titled Beyond the Grave - Lessons from Mark's Grandpa. Mark’s grandfather was a psychiatrist and a very spiritual man.  Grandpa Taylor combined knowledge from his profession and overlayed that with an umbrella of faith. The result provided unique insights into what motivates us, what inhibits us, and how we deal with this life’s difficulties and unfair aspects. 

WHAT'S ON THE HORIZON

 

~ LINKS ~

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Mark and his family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mark and Me references several experiences while he was at church. Additionally the book includes brief references to doctrinal issues. This section provides additional information on several subjects related to the book by accessing the church's various on-line sites.

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~ LINKS ~

Information on Down Syndrome

Answers to common questions regarding Down syndrome provided by the referenced organizations and the CDC.

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~ LINKS ~

Organizations Supporting Down Syndrome

There are numerous organizations at all levels from local to international that support Down syndrome research, education, and support. There are some of the largest national and international organizations.

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~ LINKS ~

Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities (DD) are a broad category of physical and cognitive impairments. Though short term in some cases, most disabilities are lifelong conditions. Numerous organizations exist to focus on researching and supporting disabilities in general, or on a specific condition. Each of these can benefit from contributions.

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~ LINKS ~

Other Authors

Several people have influenced my writing and provided encouragement in the recent years to reach this point. A few of them are independent authors and I include information about them here. Their writings address different subject matter and audiences, but they nevertheless have been a significant influence on me.

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 I remember Mark giving that last hug to Dad’s casket. Everyone talks these days about being authentic. I don’t know if there is anyone out there as truly authentic as Mark!

- An aunt on attending her father’s funeral (Mark’s grandfather)

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