You may remember Emily Krabill as the 2015 Goshen High School prom queen. She made a big splash in the Elkhart Truth, and her story was named one of the top 10 feel good stories for 2015. Like most 19-year olds, Emily loves listening to Selena and the Scene, talking about her favorite celebrities and making big plans for the future. At the moment, she thinks might want to be a chef or a professional public speaker when she grows up.
Since graduating (that’s right, Emily graduated with a formal degree after successfully completing standardized testing and tough courses like algebra), Emily works part-time in a dish-washing job while also spending three days a week at ADEC’s Goshen Day Service. While she’s there, she enjoys spending time on the computer, baking and participating in the art projects.
Emily loves to write. She started writing for the Goshen High School paper during her sophomore year. Since graduating in 2015, she started a blog she updates regularly. Sometimes, she highlights teachers who have made a difference in her life, other times, she shares about her favorite bands. More often than not, she talks about what it’s like to live with Down syndrome.
I feel like people with special needs are being looked down on or overlooked because of our extra chromosome,. Emily wrote in a February 7 blog post. Having an extra chromosome is like we’re slower to develop and learn. But almost every time I can hear other people say the “R, word.” It means that they are calling us dumb and shallow!
Do they even know what that word means? It means to me that it’s starting getting on my nerves. They think that’s who we are but they haven’t given us a chance. They don’t even know who we are, but they’re judging us based on what they think of us. That isn’t who we are, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what everyone thinks.
But we are not selfish or stupid, thinking we are just toddlers stuck in a grown up’s body. That’s not who we are and we are more than that. I want to give a message to everyone who could be reading this who has special needs. We are special for a reason but that doesn’t mean we should be ridiculed because of it. If you are not happy for who you are, you should know that you are beautiful and strong.
If you ask Emily about having a disability, she will correct you immediately. “I don’t have a disability. I think of it more as a special need. We’re all learning differently. It’s not that we’re not skilled, it’s that our learning developments are slower. It’s not that we don’t have the ability.”
One of Emily’s primary goals in keeping her blog is to help others with her special need.
“I really have a passion for helping people,” Emily explained. “I want to be the voice for everyone that doesn’t have one.”
One of the things Emily is most passionate about is ending the use of the “r-word.” She signed a campaign at Goshen High School to “Spread the Word to End the Word.” She works to accomplish this big goal by speaking with groups about the negative impacts the r-word has on her and her peers.
“I want to be taken seriously,” Emily said. “Out in the real world, I’m always the fun, energetic girl. But I don’t know if they will take me seriously if I say, ‘Hey, I have down syndrome and I’m insecure about that.’”
This is just what Emily accomplishes in her blog. Keep an eye on ADEC’s Facebook page as we will be sharing Emily’s posts so we can all learn and grow from what she has to share.
Article by Whitney Craig | Communications Specialist
Photos by Rod Tackett | Communications Specialist