Hi! I’m Lindsey Strickland. My husband, Daniel, and I live in Seattle, Washington with our four children and a very well-loved pet bunny named S’more. Our youngest son, Ben, joined our family through international adoption when he was three years old. We always knew we would grow our family through adoption, but could have never imagined how saying “yes” to a child with an extra chromosome would change our lives for the better.
My professional background is in sexual assault advocacy. I had the privilege of working alongside child protective service workers, investigators, attorneys, therapists and fellow advocates to help young victims and their families feel valued and heard during an extremely difficult time in their lives. In addition to working directly with children and families, I provided sexual assault prevention education to organizations and schools throughout the community and participated in a statewide child sexual abuse prevention task force.
When Ben joined our family, I knew I needed to reevaluate the prevention strategies I’d been teaching as a professional and had implemented at home. As I researched, I discovered that children with cognitive disabilities are at least three times more likely to experience sexual abuse. This solidified my resolve to find information and resources to help keep my son safe. Much to my dismay, I discovered very little concrete advice on how to reduce the vulnerability of children with Down syndrome and consequently created Worth The Conversation.
Sexual assault is a difficult topic to discuss, but we must be willing to educate ourselves and our community in order to keep our children safe. It is my firm belief that the parents and professionals in the Down syndrome community are already powerful advocates who CAN and WILL change the staggering sexual abuse statistics. After all, we know our kids are worth the conversation!