Life’s lessons as seen through the eyes of very special people.Getty Images/iStockphoto

My nephew Conor O’Dowd has Down Syndrome but recently passed an incredible milestone by getting his Leaving Certificate (High School graduation exam) in Ireland.

When discussing this with a friend, Kieran McLoughlin, he recommended this book of poetry and paintings by students of the National Institute for Intellectual Disability at Trinity College Dublin.

The book is dedicated to his late sister Margaret McLoughlin who too had Downs.

The poems from the intellectually disabled  students are truly remarkable and I wanted to share a sample.

The book is available from the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin

Not at home anymore
Because of my disability
(Don’t you love Mammy anymore?)
come home (I’ll be better I promise)
I miss the way things used to be
Poem by Sandra Flynn

When I was a young
Girl I did not live
At home for long
At six they brought
me to Dublin in a car
I live in an old building
For a few years
The nurse wore
Like a prison
My Mam and Dad could not manage me
 I was a bit lonely
Poem: Julie Moloney
My Miracle Childhood

Born a “floppy baby”
Never, sat crawled, walked
8th of December 1982
(three weeks before my second birthday)
Mum prayed for Our Lady of Lourdes
And that afternoon
I just got up
Born with
Two odd feet, one a half size
Smaller than the other
(the doctor had to stretch it)
Another operation
When I was
Three and a half years old—
Achilles tendon
When I was four
I went to Lourdes
And from then
I prayed
To Our Lady every day.

Poem: Noelle Doran’