Hello and welcome to the If We Knew Then podcast I’m Stephen Saux
And I’m Lori Saux today we are joined again by Chris Nikic and his parents Nik and Patty talking about their approach of training body and mind to overcome obstacles one person at a time in our first episode with the neck aches we discussed how people with down syndrome can do more things than ever if given the tools given the time we talked about repetition and how important it is for learning we also talked a lot about Chris’s accomplishment of finishing a half Ironman which he’s the first person with down syndrome to ever complete and a half Ironman we’ll talk more about that today we’ll also talk about his attempt of completing a full Ironman a one hundred and forty point six mile race a truly amazing feat for any athlete Chris Nick Patti it’s wonderful to have you on the podcast again %HESITATION thank you very much as a pleasure Nick you were telling us how Chris train for the Iron Man and your one percent philosophy we had some questions more specifically on how Kris learned how to ride a bike yeah so he went to a bike camp we had these learn how to ride a bike camps when so he started to learn but that was just a week ago in camp trying to learn how to ride a bike with all kinds of accessories and then the next six months Patty and I alternated holding the bike while he learned how to ride a little it took six months of on again off again effort for him to finally learn how to ride a bike on his own without falling Nick can you go in to a little bit of that process because I know you know a lot of times we get questions and people want to know when is my child going to walk when are they going to run what are they going to be able to do these things riding a bike is something that can be such a daunting challenge and it’s scary because you fall off your bike can you tell us about your experience and how you taught him to ride a bike to give people a little bit to to build on sure for for for someone with special needs their biggest challenges the buyer because of the balance the reaction time the strength the muscle tone and so you have to build a little bit at a time because it is the most complex thing to learn so when you think about it riding a bike is repeated adjustment to your brain in order to stay upright so you need the brain needs to react fast but but the the the legs and the muscles have to be strong enough to maintain it so it’s something that you just have to be patient with you know knowing what we know now if your son was ten wanted to ride a bike he he could be riding a bike on its own within six months or less and once he gets it black once Chris got it and then he started to train more he went from just barely riding a bike to be able now to ride a bike twenty seven twenty eight miles an hour and sustained speeds of twenty miles an hour pretty consistently and you can ride hundreds and hundreds of miles you know without ever falling so early on you have to be patient that is the most complex thing that your son is going to learn is riding a bike and so you have to start with some basics to build up their strength and their comfort so start with some training wheels but then start by holding them meaning get rid of the training wheels and and just get one of those extended handles behind them and just walk by their side and let them ride the bike while you’re holding them up right so they’re focused on that the joy of riding a bike and getting used to the environment until their sub conscious mind gets comfortable with what’s going on and it’s kind of like artificial intelligence what you’re doing with with a child down syndrome is your programming there some conscious mind because it’s ten times more powerful than the conscious mind and not only happens through repetition so if you’re willing to be patient up to get him through that learning curve that eventually they will need you anymore they’ll be self sufficient just about everything and that’s the the the vehicle the the method by which you can do it so you have to be really patient most people think they can’t ride a bike so they never really go through that routine and help them achieve it yeah they’ll get they’ll give up I absolutely love that your approach to Chris and to teaching him has banned just to go beyond and again it said to me it’s such a metaphor of going beyond the challenges that were presented and the an accurate perceptions that were given about our children you know you’re going beyond that first layer and just to reprogram that other level of consciousness I love that that’s your approach because I thought I would love to reprogram the subconscious of society but in a way I think that that’s what you’re doing because by accessing and by Chris accessing his potential that I think that does re program one thing I always tell parents is no matter what happens out there and what people present you with whether it be in the grocery store or at an IEP meeting or at a doctor’s office with an opinion that we do have such an impact on our children and what they believe about themselves and I love that that something that you incorporate with Chris is that you understand that your impact no matter what the rest of the world says your impact is greater yeah so you know there’s only so much we can do to change society but there’s everything we can do to change ourselves and and we’re all going to be faced with different challenges and issues it’s how we respond to those challenges and issues that make or break us and so what we’re trying to teach Chris is that we are taking personal responsibility we as parents and then we want him to take personal responsibility for himself because of his life he wants to be independent he wants his own family and so he has to take responsibility for that he has to be willing to fight fight through the pain he’s got to be willing to go train hard when he doesn’t want to all right the easiest thing in life is to serve the country but video games and sitting on the couch gets you nothing but average and so Chris has learned that average is not acceptable in our home and that it’s his responsibility to change that and so we as parents can set that path for our kids and no matter what else is going on around us and and around them if we teach them correctly and we help them and we we help them bridge that gap %HESITATION as you’ve seen in the last if using Christopher west last three years he’s gone from average to you know what’s going on now and the kind of attention he’s getting in the impact it’s having and the only thing that changed all of that is Chris and the way we work with Chris the rest of society didn’t change his school didn’t change his coaches that nobody else changed and the result is is the result of the decision between I and I and Chris to do things differently and take personal responsibility Patty do you mind chime in there and just maybe adding how you feel about this experience the past few years well I think it’s exciting you know Chris has matured a lot you’ll see your son go through all the stages of the nation and on and and Chris is a hard worker and I think most of our kids are hard workers I mean he’s you have to work harder than you know a lot of the other kids on a daily basis with his speech practice at home with his physical we we had %HESITATION TTC your speech or language or motor challengers and he’s overcome you know many of the data they need things for communication and we’re still working on it we try to you know keep him balance as much as we can yes your O. R. his training for doing the iron man’s I know earlier Nick you talked about Pat %HESITATION that Patty had stayed home and taking care of all of the therapies that you just mentioned did you did you do to therapies or just to support while he was receiving the therapies I would sit in on the therapies with the therapist you know and learn their techniques see what we’re working on at the present time and then take that and continue with whatever we are trying to achieve at the time you know at one time we had persons welfare vis a week that was a lot of therapy for a few years now but I just thought I’m going to throw everything out there that I can to help this guy succeed A. arms %HESITATION you know we got a flow chart and check off things that you know we were we’re not a match socks or we would learn you know different cognitive skills and he had behavior therapist as well you know so gosh he’s come a long way Chris always wasn’t where he is today of course he had a lot of struggles we just tried to always where I tried to put one into all of the various therapies that we would do every day and you know at home as well in Chris loves music and so I would do a lot of things to music and try to make it fun someone continuation on the whole therapy concept we say the best therapy Chriss ever had is training for Ironman and training to do a public speaking engagement your training for an Ironman is therapy because he has to learn different skills and drills between swimming strength running and biking and so it’s preparing for a triathlon and Ironman that makes him do the drills much more than he ever would when he was just doing therapy therapy was for therapy but now everything is doing is is actually better therapy but he’s not doing therapy anymore he’s actually training for an Ironman if you watched the hundreds of little skills the crisis had to learn right from holding a handlebar to turning to the changing gears on a bike to using break so how to how to turn his arms and breeding when you swimming everything but the difference is because he has a train for an Ironman he’s got to do everything hundreds and hundreds of times and that’s been the difference between traditional therapy and training for an Ironman and same thing for doing public speaking training to do a speech much better speech therapy than actually taking speech therapy because he’s he’s delivering a very cold he so %HESITATION speech and it does a couple things one is it forces them to learn the message and deliver it and make it some conscience but it also forces them to focus on announcing the words and making all come together but there is also something patties always talk about which is self taught one of the most powerful things you can do is self talk tell yourself positive things all the time and your brain will believe it and through that practicing his speech and learning all that he has he is accomplishing not so much more in terms of therapy than he ever did taking there but of course we need the therapists at whatever stage we were at you know when he was growing up yet to learn from them I I know it’s a it’s a it’s a great trick to sit in on those therapies and and to learn that basis but then as a child becomes a young adult you can see how the Ironman and doing speeches how yeah then now you have to court coordinate hundreds of these little therapies into one yes I turn into productive things that he can then turn into conversations on you can take from south and look we’ve only just started this process we’re we’re two years into it you know mostly the last year has been the more intense portion of it so in in the first year was just figuring some things out the second year was intense and so we’re excited about the next two three years what what he’s gonna learn at the rate that he’s learning because we’re seeing when we teach our new exercise or new drill that might have taken him a hundred times or two hundred tons of practice to get it now he’s learning you’re doing it ten times so so we’re seeing all kinds of things that are unexpected and and we can only imagine what the next two or three years or on store let me ask you because Patty you sat in on those initial therapies and you’re learning how to do the therapies I think also it’s at the beginning of learning what down syndrome is am processing all of those emotions and feelings and as a parent but now when you’re teaching the training and you’re talking about all the lessons you know like switching to care turned in the bike getting his balance do you break it down as a lesson or do we just jump on the bike and learn like what is your approach well we break everything down so that’s one of the philosophies of training the typical child can learn things in a group right a bunch of things at once what we did with Chris as we look at something and we break it down into its smallest components and then we teach them one component of timing the right sequence so instead of trying to teach him three things at once we teach one thing and we make him do it ten or twenty or thirty times until he’s learned it then we teach in the second and then the third and then we pull all three together into one motion you have to break things down into the simplest most insured are resistant to execute components and then build up until you have a sequence of things working together like riding a bike it’s a tough thing sometime to tell parents but its patience and its patience the route oh my gosh my patience that’s what Chris is taught me over the years is to be a patient mom well no it’s still and where to go you had mentioned that the last two years you said that you made a dramatic change you’re just talking about the approach like going from special to gifted is that what you’re talking about there and then you would also mentioned a learning curve and the changing your approach yes the whole changing the approach actually we looked into it I just got more involved in the triathlon with him and so we just started doing it for fun something to do together something to get in shape we didn’t go into this thing with any other intention other than having some fun and getting in shape and doing something together and it wasn’t until we did it more and more and I started to notice things that I’d never noticed before that I started to put things together and and coming from the the career I’m in which you know I help sales organizations transform and optimize their performance and I’m an engineer by education so I think in terms of breaking things down and measuring things and seeing the cause and effect between one thing and another soul I kind of started the stuff for a living anyway and I just started measuring and tracking everything we’re Christian starting to see things and and metrics and data started to show me things that were counter to what people were telling and and the more I dug in the more I solidified the breaking things into components creating a one percent out of philosophy breaking down the the routines down in a way that we can learn them so you know there there’s a number of things going on simultaneously in we’re trying to all in the middle of this we’re trying to document everything so we can go back and put it together into well a simple blueprint that any parent can follow all that they can work with their kids and say look here’s the here’s the two or three or four year blueprint if you want to help your child down syndrome from the age of ten to the age of fifteen just do what amazing things but it’s got to be kind of done in a in a sequence in a pattern in a way that will sustain itself permanently in their lifestyle and so that’s those are one of the things that is breaking it down into those little components and and be able to see the progress and to your point being patient knowing that it’s gonna take a little bit longer but once they get there they’re going to get to the same point as everybody else well that was exactly my next question was the blueprint part and and so I’m glad you answered that and and %HESITATION I can’t wait till you come up with that and we can do that can be spread that’s a that would be amazing to tell people I hear so much of your voice and mine the way you think and there are so many times I think earlier in Liam’s life that I needed to be shown things to then go further and I think what your child’s generation hopefully might Giles does too it will show the next generation and show the next generation of parents that let’s forget that they have to be shown this let’s just go there and then you’ll see it and just keep going and that’s what clearing a path is yeah you’re right I did you know all of us have much more driving ability to achieve something if we believe it’s possible and the only way we can believe it’s possible is if we see other people doing sold the hardest is being the first person to do something right so we know that with Chris is going through yeah it is a major major %HESITATION thing going on right because it’s never been done and we don’t know we don’t know the the challenges women face between now and November to go from half an arm into a whole Iraq all right so the goal is to do it but we don’t know and so we’re gonna learn an awful lot along the way and then hopefully you know we’ll document that in a way that someone like your song you know at least can follow the blueprint he still gonna have to do the work you’re still gonna have to dedicate time and resources to help there’s no way around that but at least if he sees that it’s been done and he knows that there’s a blueprint to getting it done then it’s up to him to decide if he wants to do the same thing or pursue the same blueprint to do something else so you know yes Sir we were intrigued by someone else and they said so Chris what’s after Iron Man right and then after this Iron Man and there’s the whole white Ironman next year and then after that the civil what next and so well after that we think Chris is going to shift gears and what’s involved and then spend the next two or three years becoming a scratch golfer why so he can prove again that if you follow the blueprint it doesn’t matter what topic you choose pick the thing that that your passion and you enjoy and then follow the one percent blueprint and spend two or three or four years at something that you’re passionate about and you can achieve amazing balls and so you know that’s not us and them after he turns twenty five the question is what what’s next after that well I guess we’ll see but you know it’s about being an example to others like him and being out there and sharing with them and showing them what’s possible so that you know there are thousands and hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been kind of following I’ve and the chief their dreams in life you know hopefully for self independence and and and you know pursuing their their change of their physical intellectual %HESITATION you seen it over and over again in history Everest sound barrier four minute mile all those unachievable things that once that first person did it then bam that gate was opened it’s interesting are you know Chris did his half Ironman the same week that was the sixtieth anniversary of Roger Bannister’s four minute mile well that’s fantastic because it gave me chills so I just like to shift gears a little bit to what your experience has been as as parents you know to talk about the birth your diagnosis educations friends and some of the changes that have taken place in the last twenty years I was %HESITATION forty years old when I rest and so being what was considered an older mom you know I went to various testings and Chris was having some sauce signs indicating that he was going to have some differences we didn’t know exactly that he was having down syndrome %HESITATION we didn’t want to have an annual so I declined out because I didn’t want a miscarriage at all so when he was born you know the birth was fine but his heart rate was dropping so he was taken right away and checked out and they realize that Chris had a BST which is was a strangle hold on this heart so he was born he was five pounds seven ounces with his long term he had a difficult time nursing and I didn’t know anything about doing any of the exercises on my health %HESITATION what would happen is if you would lapse on you know he let it be okay for a little bit and then he would the team and that was because of his heart and so he really didn’t get a lot of weight we would see the cardiologists every two and a half weeks M. he was he doing you know when I am yeah and finally at five months he was just under ten pounds so he wasn’t driving at all they are they decided to go in and have open heart surgery into the repair and they found the second hole during surgery so they repaired both holes it was like flipping a switch is energy level skyrocketed and he %HESITATION had so much more energy it was wonderful to see and within five days of coming home from the hospital you notice first he T. and we started therapies from there until all the world motor exercises to help him with his mouth so that he could eat better and he was gosh about five years old and he was still having soft food because he couldn’t stop %HESITATION swallowing problems didn’t know what to do with the texture that was you know in there the silence so he was probably almost three or older before you can even walk without a Walker yeah %HESITATION you know so I mean he advanced really really slowly the space he couldn’t eat solid foods a baby soon all food all it’s all five and then but it was an active kidney you just you know be lots of fun and he’s just always always delayed everything and I’m I’m kind of a fragile little it’s such a joy now and then %HESITATION you know as we lived in different places you would always make some friends or he’d have you always have one friend wherever we live which is always a blessing for him and he would always be acted with with a friend and then when he %HESITATION when he started the school he’s graduating from now he met Sam in the sixth grade and Sam has been his best friend ever since the sixth grade you know he was just here a few hours ago Sam goes to college he was the valedictorian of their school he’s a sophomore in college now but every weekend they got together and they always do things and %HESITATION you know it’s just unreal you know challenging but also fulfilling time you know we do participate in different sports along the way %HESITATION soccer you know upward basketball things like that so we always had had kept them active but we just never we never made that breakthrough right everything was we had to do just enough to be OK either but never break through to get a great out of the so the last year your so you’re not and I know it’s because you had talked before about changing the word from special to gifted but is that what you would say why you just did enough to yes well my friends are fine not enough to make a breakthrough and we never understood that the line you know that it’s kind of like if you’re if you’re walking in the dark you don’t know where you are and and and when to stop right %HESITATION and so we never news that we’re always taking him to the fifty yard line and then we would stop and so what we’ve learned by treating him as gifted as we would push him like we pushed our daughter beyond that point and then all of a sudden we realize that there was a there was a point when he would make a major breaks down that’s when the light bulbs went off and naturally some from now on anything we want him to do we can treat others either something’s gonna do for fun we’re gonna treat it as something he’s gonna be successful out and make a breakthrough and and depending on how we treat it if it’s just for fun just go do it one way if it’s to make a breakthrough that we know we got to work two or three times as hard until we make a breakthrough and then as a permanent part of well it’s amazing to think of that young inefficient technically leaky heart that was was wearing him down and then they have a correction and to work hard like he’s working now and the sea with a hard stone for now because that’s a pure physical organ that is working so efficiently now it’s it’s beautiful really I still question now he’s five foot eight hundred and seventy pounds solid as a rock I think that part of the story those challenges of having the open because the physical or the medical conditions that they present you know new moms with are those can be the most intimidating and bring the most fear to new parents but what you did is you had that he had his surgeries and now here he is running the Iron Man I can’t think of anything that would bring more comfort to a parent then to know that possibility what did you know about down syndrome when Chris was born well I as a child he had a family my my grandmothers are best friend had a son with down’s syndrome and I remember she would speak to him in such a harsh tone and as a five year old license myself you know what if he was my son I would be nice to when I was born I said okay thank you god bless you I don’t I know I didn’t know anything about them so when the doctor said your son has down syndrome I was I was just devastated but I don’t know why the perception was there’s something drastically wrong with that I didn’t know what and so it took a week or two for it to settle and before we started to calm down and started doing research and trying to figure out what what was going on and then be able to kind of go from there but it was %HESITATION it was like somebody hit you with a two by four and not knowing what we’re what kind of answers were out there when you did your research about down syndrome twenty years ago so if you ask me this question two years ago %HESITATION you know everything we research our side what’s interesting information and we try to act on it and there’s some good information out there but based on what we’ve learned in the last two years we feel the most important thing that we need to know about down syndrome didn’t exist did we didn’t find it we can see if we can hear we can read it anywhere and so we are behavior it’s not like we didn’t look for it and read everything and wants everything but we just didn’t either here or we didn’t see it or just didn’t exist and so what we learned the last two years it has been self learning through just watching Chris and everything we read and learn was limiting right everything was about what in one way or another it was about what he can’t do and what is limitations are and in that kind of how to do the basic therapies and things so help them live within those limitations what I really wanted to know and what I know now is that how do we shatter those limitations and how do we get them beyond what we think where we think they are even like what I said earlier about how they learn differently how they develop differently how they need things broken down differently so I think part of what part of the the the lessons learned here and what I love to be able to share with the rest of the community is that maybe we all start thinking about whether it’s within the existing school system or or some other way to create an environment that aligns better to their way of learning so we have to think about how are kids learn to be able to achieve their maximum potential now the the benefit of an inclusive environment which is what Chris has with Iran is that it’s more fun you feels he’s part of something he’ll compete a lot harder being an inclusive environment so I’m in no way suggesting that we we don’t create inclusive environments but what I’m saying is I think there’s a blind there on inclusive environment with a little bit of a different learning style and and part of my ID on that is that we create an environment where a typical child acts more like a body or or kind of a teacher and something to help her where someone said with down syndrome and several child working out together and then both learn and benefit from that one learns of benefits by teaching and helping and being inspired the other benefits because you apply the learning style that works for them so I don’t see I don’t know the answers are I just know a lot of the answers out there are not comprehensive enough to allow our children to flourish to their fullest ability so you’re you’re saying what you needed to to find that you didn’t find was that we can shatter the limitations and set of present the limitations are trying everything seems to be presented to work within those limitations negatively and what we learned is that we need to shot of those limitations and things and break through outside of the which I think is what what your training and and what this is doing and I’ve were I’m really so interested to to see how you compile all your information to create that kind of system and be able to present that to other parents it you for me I feel like the you know the benefit of the inclusive classroom is absolutely everything that you said that Chris is enjoying now as a twenty year old you know in the Ironman he’s enjoying that and I I feel like that is also the benefit in the school system it’s just it’s just getting those supports there because we’ve noticed a big difference with the the virtual learning and or the what a distance learning yes that we’re able to take the time with him at home that he needs that he wouldn’t really have that time at school or he wouldn’t get a break if you need it or or what have you they would say okay time’s up let’s go on the next thing but also being in that environment at school is beneficial to because he has he’s great here’s the model as well now not all we also we’ve been in the classroom we know that we don’t want to model everything that but you know it you know that’s what I’m saying you’re right it did you need both you know it’s funny because one thing that we did notice because you know we get a lot of push back when we go into getting close of classroom we’ve got a lot of pushback and you know just to keep him on curriculum and to keep up responsibility there for educating lamb we’ve we’ve we always experience resistance and that but we we’ve persevered and keeping him in the classroom on curriculum and but he’s a week he always gets grief on display and we it’s such a hard fight and this last year and third grade we went in and for a birthday party and I will tell you our son was the best behaved most attentive well mannered to third grade boy in the whole classroom and my question was why does he get so much grief why does he have to fight so hard because honestly so these kids are a bad influence was something sometimes it is not anything that is is possibly thought of as a negative thing can get magnified so much and it’s also kind of blamed on the diagnosis rather than just sees a ten year old boy now let me ask you that Chris because I feel like sometimes like a missile to a different it’s a double standard he’s held to a different bar as far as he is he is personally responsible for everything that he does he’s held highly responsible for that but then the expectations are low is that something you experience Chris and and if so how do you feel about that sure sure sure sure or store shoes for %HESITATION %HESITATION %HESITATION June shrews harms harms close so she is sure is for each route around stars shore tour through through the storms you’re one down sure there were two groups grow produce our own how to make you feel real well I’m sure you’re I’m sorry are you really are %HESITATION %HESITATION %HESITATION just hard to know how the other kids treat your children going strong for through your most cost for those trying to order so it’s interesting now Chris’s been invited this year to speak in front of thousands of students he’s got like six or eight %HESITATION sessions always book where they’re having him go to speak to the the student bodies about the one percent philosophy and they’re actually asking us to design a one percent program that they can apply to the student body throughout the year so things are starting to happen in a way that we never could have imagined that so this is so great I can relate to what you’re saying Chris because we find that society as a whole and family member sometimes %HESITATION friends classmates won’t hold Liam accountable for things they’ll they’ll let him get away with so much and I think that that can kinda because sometimes a stubbornness in him %HESITATION and and he may also be naturally stubborn at home we we don’t let that fly but I think it’s a detriment to him when he’s treated that way that he’s allowed to not push himself or he’s allowed to well you know you don’t have Liam do that I mean he’s like already thinking he can’t do it now not some special term what I’ll say running running in Iran is pretty maybe they were right they were just using it and they’re in the wrong context because it is so special and I I will say I am sorry that you had to experience that Chris kids can be so mean and that’s one of my biggest fears with Liam as when ever okay usually at his school he’s lucky because as an aide with them so kids don’t usually say anything but every so often I’ll be there and I’ll I’ll see something that’s really not nice and and I’m sorry you have to experience that I will say to every child who had a misperception and every teacher and every administrator that you going back there and you teaching them as is so beautiful and it’s such a great lesson to be able to say that you overcame the wrong perception that people had a few you overcame that and you stayed on your course and now you’re able to go back and teach them which is just so full of life and love and lessons there and again just ends just inspiring I would love for you to talk to my school and I would love to have your your program written down that I could follow at home to help support them and to have that program be a part of an inclusive environment to where you know Liam can start to an other children can start to shatter these limitations but is there anything significant that you would like to talk about that have been changes over the last twenty years whether it be society acceptance opportunity perception along those lines well I think you know people are seen Vance’s your appearance yeah and I think %HESITATION no more our kids are doing different activities and inclusion I think it is solved and I think every every year makes a difference no I think it’ll make a big difference as we as we have more of our kids %HESITATION really %HESITATION pushed through those breaks news and be able to just to show that they can become more self sufficient and independent for me if it’s one thing I would work on with every child with down syndrome it would be the physical part because what I found is through the physical part what happens is the inclusion gets easier because now they can play golf they can play a sport that can be part of a group and I’ve also noticed that as the physical part gets better and stronger there seems to be a connection with the mental intellectual part and so you can work on the intellectual part but but it’s been my observation believe that if we can help our kids physically become active really active where they can go play a round of golf with their friends or go play basketball just go for a run or bike it’ll create in a an environment of inclusion like nothing else that we can do and it’ll develop their muscles their health so many things we worry about our children will actually become addressed through sports and through our physical ability and through inclusion and then at the same time start to apply the intellectual things on top of that because I believe the brain is a muscle and you can develop it but but the muscle starts to develop because of the physical thing right because the harder you work the more brain the more you pump your brain and the stronger against I think that’s the change that will make life so much more attractive for our kids and help them become more more of part of the community and more included in everything that’s going on around them there’s no doubt that there is that connection between physical health and mental health I I think also we talk about how the changes come in I I was kinda go back to that patients as a parent to understand that when a minority wants to have change happen they’re the smaller voice you’re asking the majority then who is basically unaffected by whatever the issue is to change to make a change to maybe come out of a comfort zone that they’ve been doing for their entire life so in any aspect of a societal change from a majority having to do it it’s going to be slow and we just have to know that the way we speed that up is by doing things like you’re doing yeah because we can we can affect change the quickest by affecting ourselves and and being the example that people need to say I am %HESITATION Chris Chris has no problems with inclusion anymore what we’re getting inundated with people who want him to be part of their club or part of their organization or part of anything that they’ve got because he’s he’s changing perceptions so much that they want him to be part of that community this may seem a little off topic but that did you ever discuss down syndrome with Chris actually you know how to do a little bit but not really you know we we didn’t make a big deal until recently you know the way I explained it to him is that you might be a little slower it may take longer to do things but you can do anything he wants to do while a lot of his other friends with down syndrome with talk about down syndrome up until recently Chris didn’t it just wasn’t something we talked about much but the last two years we’ve been doing a lot more of it because it is not turned into a mission now he understands that he has down syndrome and there’s others like him and so now we talk about it in terms of how he can make a difference for others like him and and be an example to help them achieve their dreams so it’s been more of a recent thing than it was when he was younger that makes sense that’s not something that we’ve touched upon for our general yeah I don’t even think we had the conversation with Sophia yeah me personally I haven’t at all up until the last couple years with Chris and Patty you know it’s done more of it but I just haven’t it’s just not something I wanted to talk about I just kept treating them as well as if you know anybody else although I didn’t realize I wasn’t really treating him like our daughter but I thought I was right it’s like you wouldn’t keep telling Chris Hey Chris you have blue eyes right that’s actually as far as my approach has spend that down syndrome is part of %HESITATION Liam is but it’s not his whole we’re doing the same way the reason why I asked that question is because I think it’s something that parents wonder like do I have to have a conversation or even with the siblings because I know with Sophia I don’t think we ever had a conversation about it and until maybe certain things would come up naturally it’s like going for an IEP or something and that the question would come up or her friends would ask and it probably came more from her friends asking her that made her ask what down syndrome much Liam was also a ten week preemie so I think from the beginning kind of a platform a set of were carefully and that we were we were helping him and then now that they’ve grown together we’re still helping but now it’s just a natural thing where we’re helping each other as a as a team I think Chris is our sister Jackie is ten years older she was a college athlete really really good athlete also went to an Ivy League school what’s interesting is she still a phenomenal athlete now but we have a there’s a famous saying that the week you reminding Jackie all when Chris was small she would started some highly when we were so when is he going to do something and now she’s watching her twenty year old brother you know who can outdo her physically right and we say he is he doing enough now oh my goodness is that things will happen between the two of them if Liam Pam and gets his mind made up to do something like this or or anything that he’s passionate about you’ll be amazed at if you will just push him beyond what you think is limits are because they’re a lot further than you think they are right if you will push him you are going to be amazed by what he can do well more importantly he is gonna be just loving life because like I watch Chris now and and the way he’s enjoying life you’ll say are you pushing on your son so hard I’m saying look I’m pushing my son for a couple years to work work out four to five to six hours a day by comparison to allowing him to live a life of isolation it do you have an if you knew then that you’d like to share well you’re fine you while I was pregnant that Chris was going to have down syndrome I think I would have I would have jumped ahead on reading up on how to work with his or holder which may have helped a lot and if I had one thing that I wish I knew if I knew his learning curve is what it is I would have changed everything about the way we educated them in a way we raised so for instance as if I wanted him to get physically stronger instead of having him participate primarily in the various sports he was and then having him practice the same way as everybody else I would have broken things down into small segments and realize that it’s going to take him ten times as long to build a foundation so I would have told him I would have taken the time you know the patients to get him through the learning curve to build his foundation so that we can keep building on top of it we kept treating him in terms of his learning the same as everybody else but he could learn the same as everybody else we would actually have adjusted his learning style and so we would have applied repetition a lot more so instead of doing something five times we would do it five hundred times in the first few years the learning would’ve been much longer but then by year four five six seven it would have accelerated in the summer and that’s we’ve seen with press the learning curve takes a different approach but it accelerates rapidly over time if you give it time okay and if people want to follow Chris’s journey we’re going to build up more and more content on his website we’re gonna try to create a lot of content but they can follow his journey but also educational things are gonna start putting words people can benefit from as well so if you want to point them says website that would be awesome yes that’s Kris Nick dot com C. H. R. I. S. N. I. K. I. C. dot com all his information is there recent news on him the one percent better every day philosophy and that blueprint we’ve been talking about the one percent better as a strategy for your breakthrough results we are so thankful we had you for another episode we appreciate all the work you’re doing we’re thinking of you Chris during a race know that you have fans here in California and all over the world paddy in NYC we appreciate you as parents and all your information thank you well as it was our pleasure and we love this opportunity to be able to share Christmas experience with everyone so nice talking to you all sure there are.
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