Posted in Autism, Down syndrome

Blog #120~Lessons Learned on a Zip Line

Blog #120~Lessons Learned on a Zip Line

Recently on a vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, my siblings and I decided to book an excursion to go on a zip line.  It seemed like a good idea at the time. You know something to knock off the bucket list.  That is until the crew at Runners Adventures began to strap the equipment on me.  The instructor explained the zip line course, proper technique and hand signals to watch for.  There were 12 lines total, the first few were lower.  All I had to do was make it through the first set and I could bail out.  As we climbed the stairs to the first cable, the fear began paralyzing me.

The staff person clipped the metal hooks over the double cables and instructed me to sit back, tuck my knees in, and to rest my hand on the cable and keep it relaxed.  I let go of my clenched fist and glided to the other side (and without one single scream or swear word).  The second line was a fast one, 6 seconds to the other side (oh and be sure to smile because there was a photo op).  I came down that line like a bullet and finished feeling like a crazed, adrenaline junkie.

zip line

The stairs leading up to the rest of the lines got higher and the cables were longer and more risky.  My brother in law could see the look on my face, that of singular focus. He reminded me to take time to enjoy the scenery.  I kept my hand loose soaring with ease and taking in the beautiful views. By the way, I made it through all 12 lines. 🙂

Zip line view

Later at the beach, I glanced out at the brilliant, blue Caribbean ocean reflecting on the adventure……


Sometimes, we need to push ourselves way out of the comfort zone.  Doing something so scary and unfamiliar forces you to face life’s uncertainties.  I have a lot of fears regarding my son, Nick.  He is 21 years old, and has Down syndrome and autism.  I worry about his future after he finishes the post-transition program next February.  I’m uncertain about him living in a group home someday.  Who is going to insure his safety? How will I know if he was possibly neglected or abused, since he has very limited speech?  Will he think that I have abandoned him? Will he be fulfilled and loved as much as he is here at home?

Nick enjoying the hot tub on our deck……

photo (30)

I learned a few things on the zip line.  Even if you are uncertain, you have to trust that the staff has your back and just let go.  At some point, I need to loosen my grip and trust that others can take care of Nick in the future.  It’s okay to be uncertain; but those fears can hold you back, and you might miss a great ride.  In fact by relaxing my hand and letting go, I felt a spark ignite inside me. That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂



Teresa is the Author of "A New Course: A Mother's Journey Navigating Down Syndrome and Autism" and the mother of two boys. Her youngest son, Nick is 29 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). Teresa's passion is helping others understand and navigate co-occurring Down syndrome and autism. She is a DS-ASD consultant, advocate, speaker, and author. Follow Nick's world on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism and on Twitter @tjunnerstall. For more information and media links, visit

12 thoughts on “Blog #120~Lessons Learned on a Zip Line

  1. Teresa, great experience – zip line of life. These little fears – like zip lines, are a metaphor for the bigger fears in life. Your blog portrays that relationship and your answer: trust and let go!

    Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind. Fear is faith that it won’t work out. Where fear is, happiness is not. The bold Life. Let go and trust is such great advice.

    Thanks for sharing!!!!!!

  2. Awesome! Thanks for sharing your adventure, fears and the importance of trusting in times we are challenged!

  3. Btw.. Please tell me why there is a hand floating in the hot tub with Nick????
    Love the comparison of letting go and trusting! Praying to God for my answers and help assures me.. To Let Go snd Let God be un control! I pray the same peace for u dear friend:)

  4. What a great adventure! So glad you held your breath, took a leap of faith & had a life-changing experience! Good for you, T! I’m sure it was scary & fun 🙂 Miss you!

  5. I love the analogy to the zip line and facing our fears and letting go! Even if we do slip a few swear words out, it’s worth the ride! So proud of you T!!!

  6. i also have a 21 year old with dual DS Autism. Reading this entry feels as if I wrote it! Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s