Walking with my Buddy 2010 – by Robert Malone

Well it’s fall here in New England and along with the brisk morning air and colorful foliage it is once again time for our local Buddy Walk.

We usually attend the Western Massachusetts Down Syndrome Resource Group’s annual Buddy Walk in Westfield, Mass at Stanley Park near the end of each October. It is always great to reconnect with friends and families we have not seen since last year and marvel in all the changes a year brings.

This year we were delighted to learn that the Massachusetts State Buddy Walk would be held in Wakefield, Mass and that Rachel Coleman (Co-creator of Signing Time!) would be performing. We would not miss the chance to see her in person and enjoy a live performance.

You see, Signing Time is something very special to our family. Through the use of Signing Time we were given the gift of communication with our son. We have been devoted fans since the beginning, back to the era of VHS tapes. As the catalog of DVDs has grown, so have William’s speech, spelling, vocabulary, reading and communication. The results have been nothing short of miraculous.

So we traveled to Wakefield to see Rachel and be part of an event to raise awareness for people who have Down syndrome along with their families & friends. William loved petting all the dogs that folks brought to the walk.

When it came time for the performance William was ready with his smile and catalog of signs prepared to sing and sign with Rachel. William was even picked to sign “Yellow” during “Do you know the colors of the Rainbow?” song. He had a great time and kept telling me, “Dad, (pause) I love Rachel”. I had a knot in my throat and managed a reply, “I love her too”. I wondered if it really sunk into Rachel just what a difference she has made in his life, check that…in thousands of children’s lives. I looked around at the people watching the performance and the outpouring of emotion. I was a great day.

Thank you, Rachel…. And thank you Signing Time!

Robert Malone

Husband to Kei Malone

Father to Sarah & William (DS)