An Open Letter to Noah’s Dad, Rick Smith


Dear Rick:

As you have undoubtedly become aware, there is currently an online backlash occurring and you are its target.  There is a term, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” that you might want to ponder.  See, you’ve expended immeasurable time and energy over the last several months hitting up established bloggers with established followings in order to make connections in the Down syndrome community as a means of relentlessly promoting yourself and your blog as THE place to go for answers (this despite the fact that you are not even a whole year into the journey of parenting a child with Down syndrome; you still have a lot to learn, my friend!).  You’ve shamelessly ridden on the coattails of someone else’s accomplishments to make a name for yourself.  The problem is that you have failed and refused to return the favor of promoting other blogs and sources of support, information, and inspiration concerning raising a child with Down syndrome.  You’ve denied publicly that any online Down syndrome community even exists, thereby blatantly disrespecting the very people who have helped you become so popular.

You’ve stated more than once in public interviews that when Noah was born, you were unable to find anything positive about Down syndrome on the internet.  And yet you were well aware of the fact that many, many people were blogging about their honest and positive experiences raising children with Down syndrome, because you had no trouble finding those very bloggers (and their readers) to promote yourself to.  You did it to me: you contacted me to ask permission to use a photo of my son, Finnian, on your site, which I granted; in return, I asked that you and your wife – being in the unique position of being a pediatrician and a parent to a child of Down syndrome – post something on your site about breast feeding babies with Down syndrome, as I feel very strongly that this is a topic not talked about nearly enough, and around which many misconceptions swirl.  You gladly agreed to post something on that topic.  You never did.  And apparently, this is what you’ve done with a lot of people: hit them up to promote yourself, but don’t return the favor by linking back to them, ignore suggestions for topics relevant to Down syndrome to be addressed on your site (or address them without giving due credit), and no matter what, don’t allow even a hint of competition.

The fact of the matter is, Rick, that it takes a village.  There is, in fact, an entire online community of bloggers and advocates who have been writing inspiring and true accounts of their experiences with Down syndrome, and reaching out to people, since long before you ever came on the scene.  And that’s the most wonderful thing about it: we share resources, we promote each other, because every new parent of a child with Down syndrome should have an entire network of support at their fingertips.  If you don’t want to be part of the community, that’s fine, but the way you’re operating is, in the end, going to backfire on you.  People by the droves are already plenty up in arms about how you’ve chosen to gain a foothold on publicity and popularity and ignore everyone who came before you and who are tirelessly advocating alongside you; you are unquestionably going to start losing support.

If you really care about issues important to the Down syndrome community, if you really care about making a difference in the world, and not one that only benefits you, then I hope you will take this to heart.

Sincerely,

Lisa Morguess

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75 Comments on “An Open Letter to Noah’s Dad, Rick Smith”

  1. Angela
    January 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    This seems so unnecessary and hurtful. As a long-time reader (but first time poster) I am very surprised at you. How disappointing! If my child said something like this to someone else, I would be having a talk with them.

    • Jaime Harman
      January 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      You are being a bit dramatic don’t you think? I can already tell the Rick has you under his spell. That is perfectly fine but a lot of us are not. I can only hope that you shake off the spell. How do you explain him spamming EVERYWHERE to get attention to his blog? How do you explain him deleting links to baby center that have been linked on his Facebook page? How do you explain him saying he found no good info on DS? Which is bullshit cause he was all over baby center until he got kicked off for spamming the heck out of it!

  2. jared Erickson
    January 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    This is bullshit. You are trying to blackmail Rick so you can get attention as well. Glad no one will ever see your blog. You should be ashamed

    • Lisa
      January 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

      What’s bullshit about it, exactly? Are you saying that what I’ve said here isn’t true? Do you even know what blackmail means? Are you aware of the fact that a lot of people are speaking out on his FB page and he is deleting any and all comments that cast a negative light on him? If I were merely interested in attention, I’d be spamming every blog and Down syndrome site I could find in order to promote myself.

      • Meg
        January 29, 2012 at 1:50 am #

        You are awful this is MUCH WORSE that spamming!!!!!!!!

      • Lisa
        January 29, 2012 at 3:23 am #

        Wait . . . could you be more specific as to how awful I am?

        Thanks for visiting!

      • Star Limon
        July 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

        Lisa,

        I was thrilled to read this about Rick Smith. I know him personally. He is a ridiculous man who has never worked a day in his life. He rides on the coat tails of a wife who many find crazy for marrying him. I am sure that he hopes to write books or do something to try to bring some money in so she will not finally make him work. He is totally obnoxious to be around while the wife on the other hand is a sweetheart of a person. I am glad you called him out. I am looking for an email address to send him an email but can’t find one – can you forward one if you have it? He is unreasonable.

        Star Limon

  3. Molly
    January 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Part of what I love about the DS community is that it’s a COMMUNITY. If you make a commitment to someone, you keep it. If you say you’ll write a post, you DO IT. You don’t just ignore it and then delete the follow-up comments that are left…. Just look at CJ and the tons of afghans she’s made for kids with DS. Look at Andrea Roberts and Reece’s Rainbow. Look at Adeye Salem. Look at how WILLING people are to help each other. They’ve raised money for adoptions, sent books to new moms, sent blankets and toys, spent hours on the phone discussing services, delievered food to families who have kids in the hospital…. People in the DS community go out of their way to connect with, support, and mentor each other. I don’t get that from his blog.

    It just seems to be all about him.. and THAT I have an issue with. Noah is adorable. But go look at the note he’s written to new parents. Four links, two of which are links to HIM. That’s not community. That’s self promotion…

    • Melissa
      January 22, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      I totally agree! The best thing about the Ds community is the willingness of others to help, offer advice and experience. I’ve been a part of the community for 2 years and have had so many people reach out a hand when I needed it. Rick’s dad doesn’t seem to be blogging to help others, only himself. But, at the same time, how much advice can he really offer when his son isn’t even a year old…

    • Melissa
      January 22, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      I totally agree! The best part of the Ds community is the willingness of others to help, offer advice and experience. I’ve been a part of the community for 2 years and have had many people offer a hand when I’ve needed it. I hope to be able to do the same for a parent following behind me. Rick doesn’t seem to be interested in helping others, only himself.

  4. ds.mama
    January 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I don’t think this post is “unnecessary”. If Lisa has become aware of what she has written about, why not speak up? Better to be straight-forward and honest rather than deceitful and hurtful behind the scenes. There is nothing said here that isn’t true even if it does seem harsh to read.

    When I heard Rick say in the interview that he went online when Noah was born and could not find anything positive about Ds, I was offended. I have personally spent the past couple years building a blog specifically targeted to new parents of children with Ds, and I know from the comments and emails received that many people have benefited from it. But I am just one little fish in a large pond of bloggers all working hard to share our experiences and enlighten the culture around us. This is a huge vibrant, positive community and those who have paved the road we walk should not be so easily dismissed.

    That said, I think Rick is in a good position (thanks to the Down syndrome community that has welcomed and supported him) to share with his audience what is really out here online about Ds. It remains to be seen as to whether he will embrace and uplift the existing community or just climb up on it to get to the “top”.

  5. Libby
    January 22, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    Seriously???? I am SHOCKED that you would type something like this! I’m not out to offend anyone but haven’t you heard the saying ” If you haven’t got anything nice to say, dont say anything at all!”
    You are entitled to your own opinion, but why put someone down, who is out there to do exactly the same thing you are, getting the awareness out there, I thought we were all in this together?!
    People find Ricks page and ask him questions, of course he is going to use his experiences first. I’m sure that if it wasn’t the information they were after, and they asked him, he would direct them best he could!
    Rick has no trouble with people putting links to their blog on his facebook page.
    So i’m asking, please be careful what you write about people, there are ways to go about things and I believe that this was not the right way. I’m not saying you have to like everyones page or what they do but if you disagree, don’t say it publicly, private messages and try and work it out.

    • Lisa
      January 23, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      Does he have an entire department devoted to Damage Control, or what?

    • Erika
      January 23, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      Libby- obviously you aren’t a usual reader of this blog then maybe you wouldn’t be ***horrors*** so SHOCKED. This is one of my fav. blogs because of the candor& no bullshit ADULT writing. Sure I don’t agree with everything Lisa says but she gives me something to think about. Oh and cute puppy pics. We need more of those :)
      Why should Lisa “please be careful what you write about people”? It’s HER blog!
      If you don’t like it then don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  6. Joel
    January 23, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    So Rick has the responsibility to promote your blog because he’s done a good job drawing attention to his blog about his family and THEIR experience. If you want people to visit your blog, write better, promote better, create more compelling content. Don’t presume things about others’ motivations. Rick never claimed to be the only resource that was positive, he just claimed that he had trouble finding it out there on the web. I had the same challenge after Seth was born. Rick is helping change that. Good for him. In my view, there are no negatives about the popularity of Noahsdad.com. Only positives.

    • Lisa
      January 23, 2012 at 12:15 am #

      No, Rick doesn’t have a responsibility to promote my blog, and I never said that (perhaps you should read more carefully). Frankly, there are a lot of people who don’t share your views about Rick or his blog. I understand why that might feel like a personal affront to his supporters.

  7. Lisa
    January 23, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Yeah Lisa! Thank you for putting into words what I and probably so many others have been thinking for the past several months. This was a post that was much needed. We are one community who should be working together to advocate and raise awareness, not being self promoters. So many parents right wonderful blogs (I wish I could keep mine up to date) and I am thankful to be able to call these parents the best support system any

  8. Life After Grad School
    January 23, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    I don’t understand why people find what Lisa wrote offensive. It’s called “Calling Someone Out” and I wish more people would do so in such an ADULT way. Lisa didn’t name call and she gave examples of what this Rick did that made her so upset. She then challenged him to change his ways.

    Oh and Libby? How do YOU know that Lisa didn’t attempt to address this privately with him first?

    • Jen
      January 23, 2012 at 12:48 am #

      And one of the big differences between Lisa and Rick is that Lisa is not afraid to leave negative comments left on her blog or Facebook page and she addresses them with maturity and intelligence and thought.

  9. alexis magnusson
    January 23, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    YES! YES! YES!

    I was personally offended, too, when he said there was no Down syndrome community or anything positive on the web about raising a child with Down syndrome. He says that as he stands on the shoulders of everyone who has gone before him. He used to RELENTLESSLY self promote on forums that were for SUPPORT. My baby with Down syndrome is 9 months older. We also had a diagnosis at birth. AS SOON AS I GOT ON THE WEB I found a group of people who put TONS OF TIME into welcoming others, supporting others, and showing by their own lives that Down syndrome is truly beautiful. What About Kelle Hampton’s blog? What about Babycenter (which, by the way, he got kicked off of because he was spamming…)? What about A Perfect Lily or My Shtub? These blogs helped me SO much in the beginning.

    He thinks he’s the only one who has ever truly adored their child with Down syndrome. He thinks he’s the first one to have a blog that promotes Down syndrome. That bothers me.

    He has a beautiful child. But more and more it looks to me like his blog is about HIM. His picture with the Target model KILLED me. It’s HIM with the boy, why not Noah?

    If he were TRULY and advocate for Down syndrome, he’d link to other fundraisers (i.e. 2 for 2, etc), other bloggers, and share information that wasn’t in some way going to give him more credit or followers.

    I’m sure Lisa could get more followers, more exposure, etc if she put the time in that he did. But she, like the rest of us bloggers, choose to spend time with our children with Down syndrome rather than relentlessly self promote. Priorities.

    I’m glad that he’s raising awareness. But I still feel like he’s using his child as a way to gain notoriety for HIMSELF and not the cause.

  10. Izzie's Mom
    January 23, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking for some time. I don’t Thumper’s words work here. It’s not like you’re going out and slandering his good name. You’re stating the facts of the matter and I’m glad you did. I’m sure there will be many many more that show up and feel the same way.

  11. NA
    January 23, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    I was also saddened that the report was “hard to find positive resources.” I found babycenter and a number of very positive blogs via google very easily.

  12. NA2
    January 23, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    http://childrenshospitalblog.org/mock-my-pants-not-my-sister/

    If you want to understand better how Rick Smith works, and why what he does is perceived as self promotion visit this blog post on the Boston Children’s Hospital Website. Take a look at the comments, and note the repeated messages from Rick Smith and Noahsdad (one and the same person). You will see 14 messages, each and every one pushing people to his blog. This sort of action has played over and over and over again online with almost every story related to Down syndrome that has been published in the last 12 months. I expect to see a flurry of defenders of his coming to this site. I would love to hear them explain how this sort of action (and there are many many others examples living on the internet) is not self promotion.

    • Bethany
      January 23, 2012 at 4:45 am #

      Oh my. I’m speechless. Perfect example. Spamming the same comment over and over and over again. How embarrassing. *shakes head*

    • Heather Stewart Seal
      January 23, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      He’s done that on everyone’s facebook wall posts. On Ds Group sites meant for educational strategies and inclusion. He never left a post that related to either of those things, only self promoting posts trying to get people to ‘like’ his fb page and follow his blog. I’ve never seen anything like it in my 9 years of having a child with Down syndrome. It’s been so obvious that Down syndrome was not his concern. Popularity was. Not sure if it was just because he likes the spotlight or was looking for financial gain with sponsors on his blog. This open letter is very overdue. Thank you Lisa for being the voice for so many of us!

    • Z
      January 23, 2012 at 6:11 am #

      Plus the way he links to stuff on his site is an SEO technique (although poorly done at that). Basically with every link to his site, he’s increasing his chances of coming up when you Google that. Which would be great, if his resources about Ds related stuff was good, but I find that it’s often lacking (or just a few paragraph post with some questions). Coincidentally, he’s one of the few Ds parent bloggers I know with advertisements too.

    • katybastowKaty
      January 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      That amount of spamming is completely ridiculous. Once or twice – fine. But over, and over, and over. There is a fine line between wanting attention and traffic for your blog (what all bloggers want of course) and shameless self-promotion that makes you question the real intent – I think he’s crossed that line.

  13. Karly
    January 23, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    I was kinda wondering if I was the only one that got this perception from him? I have been trying to see the positives. I joined the fb page in hopes that i would see all the encouragement people talk about. but its true, all i notice all the time when i am on other blogs are the self promoting comments. i write a blog too…i’d love if a bunch of people read it, but only if it was helping and encouraging them. not for myself. i am glad that it is helping some and encouraging, I’m sure there are lots of nice things to say bout the stuff on there. but all the self promoting, and “raising awareness” in the way its done, just rubs me the wrong way. thank you for saying this in such a mature way, and saying it like it is. whether or not he really is this way, only he knows. but it sure doesn’t look good, in everyones blog comments etc. thanks again. we need to support each other and encourage one another, and too much self promoting is not good for that.

  14. Mike Sullivan
    January 23, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    I am really disappointed with this discussion. The Down syndrome community faces some very real threats through discrimination and the use of genetic screening that is resulting in significant declines in birth rates through selective abortion. Our community needs all the positive awareness it can get, and if Rick can add to this, then all well and good. The issue is bigger than any of us, put the egos away and promote diginity and respect for Down syndrome, it is desperately needed.

  15. upset
    January 23, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Honestly it seems to me like you are the one who has a big ego right now. A friend of mine (a new mom of a child with Ds) read this post and called me on the verge of tears. I am regretting ever sending her to your blog – a blog that I used to enjoy very much.

    I told her how the Ds community is a wonderful and supportive place to be, and how it is a place filled with respect and caring. If Noahsdad is trying to promote his site and get his message out there and let the world know about his love for his son, and all these positive things I don’t see a problem. He openly says that he is not the expert. He likes many other blogs on his Facebook page. His Facebook page is now filled with beautiful pictures of other families – families, pictures, and words that brought encouragement and support to my friend. Your post is just filled with negativity and anger against another parent – why in the world are you being so mean about something so petty when there are many other things to be angry about?

    You say that if he cares about the Down syndrome community he will take your post to heart. If you care about the Down syndrome community, you will take mine to heart.

  16. Jaime Harman
    January 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Yes! Rick is in dire need of attention; he wants to become someone famous. In reality, throwing an entire community under the bus is only going to get you so far. I recall when he was spamming baby center with his “look at my blog” posts! We shunned him away so now he refuses to aknowlegde that it exsists! Which he himself has actually used as a source for information as well.

    It’s not about Lisa wanting attention for her blog. She doesn’t need Rick to do that! It’s te point that he agreed to something and didn’t do it, the fact that he is using everyone else’s blog to gain attention for his own. The man brainwashed 11,000 people but there are also just as many of us who see right through his manipulations! He doesn’t know anything more about down syndrome than the rest of us raising a child with it; in fact, there are parents further into this journey that could teach him a thing or two.

    When you are a part of a community (the DS community is a very tight one) you work with others, you help each other out, you DON’T attempt to being attention to yourself while throwing everyone else under the bus.

  17. Stephie
    January 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Check out the NoahsDad.com comments in the USA Today article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2011-11-14/blood-test-down-syndrome/51202078/1. What I find so challenging is that he spreads misinformation about older children with Down syndrome. In these comments he mocks the “short bus” and says, “I’m not sure what you mean? Tax payers don’t pay for everyone’s healthcare. We have private insurance. Not government insurance. There are no taxpayers paying for any part of our health care.”

    Most parents of children with Down syndrome 0-3 do depend on early intervention, a government-funded program. Advocates in my state have also worked very hard for our children to have access to the Katie Beckett Medicaid waiver so that those with and without private insurance can have access to government-funded speech, OT, and physical therapy. Moreover, we are also very grateful for the special education services funded by the taxpayers so that my son can participate in a wonderfully inclusive and supportive setting, and there is no shame in children who might need specialized buses.

    While it is most certainly true that our children with Down syndrome are wonderful, contributing members of their community and families, it’s also disingenuous to claim they don’t need additional services to help them meet their potential. In fact, it’s quite dangerous to make those assertions because it conveys to the general public that those services are unnecessary and disposable when they are actually vital. In this economy, that’s nothing to trifle about.

    • Heather Stewart Seal
      January 24, 2012 at 6:54 am #

      Such a good point especially when funding for special needs programs continue to get cut every year with tax cuts and we are writing our legislators pleading our case and why our children need these services.

    • Ginger
      September 2, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      I’ve become very disillusioned with Noah’s Dad since getting our Tri 21 diagnosis eight weeks ago. I personally found way more support from our sources than I did on his site or Facebook page. Sure it’s great that he’s promoting Ds but let’s face it this is also him promoting himself. So yes he does put good stuff up but he’s distracting all that good stuff with false promises, white lies, and ego.

      In addition, his politics make me sick and I feel like he’s a puppet for interests that are not mine. Not all parents with kids who have Ds are conservative, and one thing I’ve come to appreciate about the Ds community is that factoid so far plays little role in the support I’m getting.

      Thanks Lisa but putting this out there. I think it’s important for us newcomers to be able to hear about these things.

  18. Ali
    January 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I don’t like this. It’s ugly. I’m not one of his “supporters”…in fact, I’ve never read his blog. Not even once. And this is also the first (and will probably be the last) I’ve read yours. Blogging is writing and writing is personal. As is the “journey” (of which I am almost 13 yrs in, so I guess that gives me mad Down Syndrome “cred” , right? @@) I just don’t like someone being told that they’re doing it wrong. So he promotes his blog. So what? What good is a blog if it’s not being read? And the insinuations that he is some kind of fraud? Ridiculous! Does he have a child with DS? Yes. Then he’s not a fraud. If you don’t like what he says, don’t read his blog. But there’s no need to go after him in such a public way. It makes you and the entire DS blogging community look petty and childish.

    • bethany @ our perfectly imperfect life
      January 24, 2012 at 4:49 am #

      I think it is the incessant spamming that is the issue here, for me anyway.

      I applaud him for trying to spread awareness and educate others about DS … I think most people do. The more, the merrier! Of course!

      But don’t spam everybody and their brother, and I think if you (said generally) were not the target of such spamming, then you might not understand this entirely. The manner in which he promoted himself to people like little old me showed me no respect … just showed me that the only thing he cared about was trying to get me (and everyone else) to his blog, to “like” this or that, and to comment on his posts. I mean really, I have been blogging for a long time … who SAYS/DOES that!

    • Riena
      October 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      Nicely put!!!! I agree 100%

  19. Jenny
    January 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Glad you posted this because I couldn’t agree more! He’s like the guy at the back of the room while your trying to give a speech jumping up and down saying “look at me, look at me” annoying as hell.

  20. Kelley
    January 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    thanks for writing this. i know some might never ‘get’ it but what you describe is dead on. The BC spam, the tone of writing that never acknowledges other resources, the position of being one giving all the advice even though you just barely started your journey…it always ate at me. I mean I am glad that his blog has been ‘picked up’ as every little bit of awareness helps but like you say the way he has done it is really uncalled for. I love that there is a DS community. That the kids pics i see on fb, i see on blogs, and share tips with their moms on BC and other forums. Everything i read was positive at my daughter’s diagnosis 21 mo ago (granted it wasn’t pre-birth but still). Its like he’s gotta create a problem so he can fix it–that’s marketing 101 right?

  21. Leah
    January 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    I’ve been thinking these thoughts too and felt guilty. Thanks for posting this! And thanks for being part of the online community that literally has made my life so great!

    • Karly
      January 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      You said it so well, I too have had the thoughts and wondered is it just me, felt guilty etc.
      thankful for this post. :)

      • Meg
        January 29, 2012 at 1:44 am #

        There is a reason you feel guilty!!! This is horrible!

  22. Heather Stewart Seal
    January 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I agree that anything positive and good is great for the Ds community. And I love that his fb page has now become a place for the Ds community to unite and share their pictures and stories. What I have a hard time with is the way his page was promoted. I’ve been a part of the Ds community for almost 10 years so I don’t need someone to tell me that the Ds community is facing some very real threats with genetic screening and high abortion rates. I get that!!! I’m not one for confrontation or negativity but after months and months of feeling like we were all being virtually suffocated with Rick’s posts on everyone’s fb posts and group pages and seeing this blog post that summed it all up so perfectly, I decided to share this post in facebook. He’s been spamming everyone’s fb pages for months, especially Kelle Hampton. He put his blog name or fb page in every comment. His comment rarely had anything to do with the original thread. Someone would leave a comment on someone’s post and he commented after with something like, “Good point. Hey, are you a fan of Noahsdad.com on facebook?” Just seeing that over and over and over makes one think that he had an agenda . . . to either become the spokesperson for Ds, seeks the spotlight, or wanted financial gain with a large following on his blog.

    I agree that it is sad that the Ds community is not united in this particular cause. It’s not about our own egos or jealousy. Honestly it has nothing to do with that, it’s about one person not speaking the truth about Ds, giving out false information, He has said there was nothing positive on the internet when his son was born 13 months ago. It’s hurtful when we were all there supporting him, sharing emails, sharing resources and when we know it just isn’t true. There are hundreds and hundreds of blogs showing the beautiful side of Down syndrome. If your blog is that good, you don’t need to promote it and spam personal facebook pages to get followers. It will get noticed on it’s own. Just like it did when he posted about Target, which unfortunately was also full of misinformation. ToysRus has included children with Ds in their advertisements for at least 9 years (that’s when I took notice after my daughter with Ds was born) and I let Rick know that when he posted about Down syndrome and advertisers a few months back. He chooses to censor information and only ‘remember’ the things that will benefit him. Not the Down syndrome community.

  23. Melissa M
    January 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    THANK YOU for posting this, Lisa! I’ve been increasingly irritated with how PRESENT Noah’s Dad is (BTW, just the title of his blog shows how much he wants it to be about HIMSELF. And the photo of HIMSELF with cute Ryan from the Target ads made me gag) everywhere I look in the DS community. Everywhere I turn, there he is: “Ooh, ooh, look at me! I have a blog you need to link to.” On the most helpful groups I’m part of, he is/was (he’s been blocked from several of them for his shameless self-promotion) consistently posting links to his blog, over and over and OVER. So in the midst of all these great discussions about resources or tips, there’s Rick, pimping out his poor little cute baby.

    Others have already said it, but it bears mentioning yet again that Rick basically threw the entire DS community under the bus with his comments about how when Noah was born, THERE WAS NOTHING POSITIVE AVAILABLE, so he started his blog in response to this lack. My baby (w/ DS) was born 2 months after Noah, but I had a prenatal diagnosis, so 4 months before Noah was even born, I was online, searching for whatever I could find to change my attitude from despair and fear. Rick’s blog obviously didn’t exist yet, but guess what? I found a MYRIAD of excellent resources–including positive, uplifting, informative BLOGS about DS, using a quick Google search. His blog’s “Resource Guide for New Parents” has only ONE link to any other source but his own blog. Everything else points readers back to a post from his own blog. It’s disgusting! It completely minimizes all of the other contributions people in the community have been making for years before he even came on the scene.

    This guy joined a community that existed LONG before his baby was born. It’s a family of amazing people who embrace you as soon as you become a part of it. There is love, support, encouragement, and so much awesome info available. It’s one thing for Rick to add his voice to ALL the others already out there–shedding light on the blessing people with DS are to the world–and another thing entirely for him to self-aggrandize and make himself out to be some kind of guru who deserves to be paid and idolized for something so many others have been doing for so long before him.

  24. Liz Morganroth
    January 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    I am glad you spoke your mind. I feel the same way. I have a small blog that I think is really only read by family and friends, and he kept commenting on it with links back to his blog and it was odd as he never commented about the content of my writing, just telling me I should check out his blog and posting the link. Who does that?? Thank you for your post!

  25. Tricia
    January 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Good for you! I have appreciated the awareness that his blog has brought, and he just got a lot of attention for spreading word about the Target ad, but I do not follow his blog and have only been on there twice maybe, because I didn’t like how he trolled around on Baby Center, using every chance he could to direct people to his blog. Something about him just rubbed me the wrong way. I think he has left a comment on my blog once, but I never reciprocated. You pretty much described exactly why.

  26. Joyce
    January 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Go to his personal website and read it word for word. It will help explain much of this. http://www.rickwsmith.com I have to run out the door to music therapy with Sarah. I will be back with further commentary.

    • Jen
      January 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      He just shut down his personal page :(…interesting.

      • Jen
        January 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

        But his personal blog is still up…

      • Joyce
        January 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

        It is still up. I was just able to get into it. I did make copies of it though just in case he took it down.

    • Molly
      January 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

      Ok, Joyce is one of the BEST judges of character out there… I give her opinion a lot of weight, so I’m off to check out his website. Hope Sarah enjoys music therapy!

  27. bethany @ our perfectly imperfect life
    January 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    What personal page? On fb? His blogs are still there.

    • Jen
      January 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

      Must have been super temporary. It’s all back again.

  28. Mike Sullivan
    January 24, 2012 at 4:14 am #

    It is really sad to see someone being attacked for promoting dignity and respect for children with Down syndrome. It says a lot about the people making the comments, and nothing about the people we advocate for.

    • bethany @ our perfectly imperfect life
      January 24, 2012 at 4:56 am #

      Who attacked him for promoting dignity and respect for children with Down syndrome?

      • Mike Sullivan
        January 24, 2012 at 5:27 am #

        It’s all here above, and I am not going over it verbatum. It’s a bad look for the DS community when this nonsense goes on. There is room for every-one to be a voice for inclusion in their own ways. If you don’t like his work, walk away and focus on being good advocates yourselves, in your own way that works for you.

      • Bethany
        January 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

        Maybe I missed it but I don’t think any of this has encompassed that. Why would anyone complain that he is advocating for kids with DS? That is not what this is about, as I see it. But then again, we are all welcome to our opinions, no?

      • Lisa
        January 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

        Mike, I don’t understand why you keep hanging out on this thread if you think the discussion isn’t worthwhile. Are you just here to chastise the MANY of us who have valid concerns? As clearly shown here, there are A LOT of people who have a problem with Noah’s Dad. Should we just shut up because you don’t agree? If you don’t like the tone of the discussion, or if you don’t agree, I would kindly suggest you move on then.

      • Mike Sullivan
        January 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

        The Noah’sDad sites are dedicated to showing the world that it is OK to have a child with Down syndrome and I endorse that message. So what do you do, attack Rick for promoting his message? As Lisa notes, she would rather I don’t agree with her attack. Fine, I will walk away and leave you too it.

      • bethany @ our perfectly imperfect life
        January 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        I dunno Mike. For me, there is a difference between promoting your message and spamming your message.

  29. Joyce
    January 24, 2012 at 4:54 am #

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I think there are two distinct issues. At least for me there are. The first is the continual comments by Rick that he could not find anything out there on the web about Down syndrome. Personally this was a bit hurtful as Sarah and I have spent a great deal of time for the past four years creating a blog that combines looking at young adulthood as well as sharing experiences from our past. Although at times it might be a bit more real life, meaning not all sunshine and roses, we always try to portray Down syndrome as the focal point with a positive spin. We also have spent a great deal of time trying to include all blogs we find related to Ds on the side bar. I feel this is very important as none of us have all the answers.

    My second issue has to do with the Target ad and all the hoopla that has surrounded it. The ad was perfect. Then all the attention was drawn to it by Rick and it no longer had the same impact. I’m still not sure how this became his story. If it was anyone’s story, it belonged to Ryan and his family. Dragging your kid to photo calls is time consuming. I know. My husband and I used to do it. Our Sarah had an agent from 1992-1995. She appeared in catalogs, newspapers and company annual reports. Her photos were selected to be in many Glamour Shot stores in malls across the country. Never once did I think about using her inclusion in the ads as an additional story. That would have defeated the entire reason we were doing it.

    I was miffed. But then I found Rick’s personal website late last night. http://www.rickwsmith.com. What I discovered is he is a self promoter. He is a communicator in the grand scheme. So when Noah was born he did what most of us do in time of crisis, we go to our own comfort zone. His happens to be, in your face communications. And it was not unlike our quilt shop, being in the right place at the right time. The local media zoomed in. This fed into what he knows best. So he increased the intensity of his communication efforts. Then the national media took notice. Then we all got involved and did the same thing we did when Kelle Hampton first arrived on the scene, we shared and reposted. The only difference as I see it is facebook has taken over from blogging. We(Sarah and I) now get more responses when I put something on facebook vs. the blog. It is easier and quicker. And soon he had over 10,000 likes. Then it grew to 11,000.

    I have nothing against Rick and his wife Abbie. They seem to be nice people. But I would like them to step back for a few seconds and realize they are in a family now. One that shares, supports encourages and picks each other up when needed. None of us is better than the next. We all have a kid with 47 chromosomes. Period. Let’s simply shower him with support and lather him with love. We need each other in this T21 club, as I predict the road is only getting tougher and more controversial with the new tests available.

    PS. Rick and I have been communicating tonight on his facebook page. I have been sharing my concerns and I do believe he understands we are all in this together. Whether we like his methods or not, new families are coming out and sharing and in my opinion that is a beautiful thing.

    PSS. Thanks to Lisa for opening this dialogue. I think it is good to be able to share concerns.

  30. Alyson
    January 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Not that Lisa needs defending but having known her for several years now,I can assure people that she did not write this to attract people to her blog. She is a gutsy advocating mama that isn’t afraid to disagree with the masses. Something I admire immensely about her.
    I am not part of the DS community as I do not have a child with DS, but ,I do have a son with Autism and I fight for the rights and dignity of all of our children. I think that it’s despicable a parent would use others to gain notoriety for themselves. There were certainly positive blogs and information out there about Down Syndrome long before Noah’s dad came along. Shame on him.

    • Meg
      January 29, 2012 at 1:46 am #

      because of this I will never read her blog, what a horrible thing to do.

  31. Jody
    January 25, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I am not sure how I came across your blog – but it interested me and I read a few recent posts and this one hit me the most…..I’ve been skeptical about Noah’s Dad for some time since I’ve been reading positive Ds blogs far longer than a 18 months now and for him to say there has been no on-line positive information is a sham. I am also amazed that he is so excited about this Target ad since I’ve been getting Toys-r Us catalogs for years with special needs have been ever present. GREAT POST – rock on!

  32. NA
    January 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    I find it interesting that since this post, Rick has been including more links on his facebook page. Yet he has not addressed your comments directly here. I have also noted that his twitter feed has demonstrated that he IS aware of negative feedback, as he’s made reference to “the crazies.” Such references take away from his recent positive step of promoting others.

    • CJ
      January 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Wow, funny how anyone who doesn’t want to drink his Koolaid is a “crazy”. Because THAT’S not judgmental at all.

      I’d rather be a crazy than have myself perceived the way he is. Have you looked at his Twitter page?? All it is a a big collection of links to his own blog and Facebook page! The sick thing is, one of the links promises “more children with Down syndrome than you’ve ever seen in your life” and goes directly to his Facebook page.

      If you want resources to numerous families who have a child with Down syndrome, I would suggest a blog roll or other reliable resource that isn’t solely focused on INCOMING traffic.

  33. NA
    January 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Rick Smith @RickSmith

    I’m going to be posting this verse on a post it note near my computer so I can reflect on it often. – 1 Peter 2:23 biblegateway.com/passage/?searc…

    The verse is here: 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

    Yet the twitter comments about crazies seem to be inviting controversy?

    Rick Smith @RickSmith
    @tapper so true. We’ll be on CNN headline news next week talking about this. I’m sure that will really open up the flood gates of crazies.:)

  34. sarahdefiesgravity
    January 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Now I finally understand what I’ve been seeing all over the Internet about the Kool Aid. The comments on this post are unreal.

    Thank you for speaking up about this, Lisa. Know that people do appreciate what you’re trying to achieve with this post.

  35. Gwen
    January 29, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    How weird! I saw this guy on bc , but was never really interested. I’m not on fb so completely missed this. Thank you for calling this guy out on his shenanigans. You remain one of my favorite writers!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Fragments » Dont Lick The Ferrets - January 23, 2012

    [...] out Uproar in the Making and An Open Letter To Noah’s Dad, Rick Smith posts on one of the topics discussed above! No related content found. Share this: [...]

  2. Sticking my neck out - What is the proper balance? | Born Just Right - February 24, 2012

    [...] was an outpouring of rage/agreement when a few bloggers who are a part of the down syndrome world spoke out about how another blogger had pushed his site into the national spotlight. The concern was how he [...]

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