Sunday, October 19, 2008

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

I got an email from a local mom who had an emotional story to tell. It's something most moms thought about while they were pregnant, but probably never dealt with. Brandee did. She worried her unborn baby would have something wrong with him and that little boy was born with Down Syndrome. But Brandee quickly learned, her son's extra set of chromosomes did not mean there was something wrong with him. It was a blessing in disguise.

Here's Brandee's story:

My name is Brandee and my son, Terry, is 4 1/2. He has Down syndrome. Statistics are showing that with the increased availability of prenatal testing for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities, 85-90% of women are terminating their pregnancies once they find out their baby has Down syndrome.

Many do not realize that these children will and can grow to be productive members of society. They have developmental delays but are still able to walk and talk and dress themselves. There are individuals with Down syndrome who have graduated from college and live in society with minimal assistance.

Recent legislation has been passed that doctors have to give parents both the positive and negative sides of Down syndrome (where the negatives were really the only side presented) and provide resources and referral to the community Down syndrome support groups when giving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Times have changed, and no longer are parents encouraged to send their children to institutions and to pretend like they died. These kids are included in regular classrooms and are excelling. Their peers are experiencing the joys of having them as classmates and friends. Acceptance and awareness is becoming more the norm, and this improves the lives of all involved.

I have not met one person who has met Terry who doesn't instantly love him. He is lively and funny and so open with his emotions and his love. He finds the joys in the everyday things in life. He doesn't hold grudges. He laughs and loves and cries and gets mad. He is just like any other boy his age. He plays ball and wrestles with his dad, snuggles on the couch to read a book, tells us no, and gives hugs and kisses. I cannot imagine my life without him.

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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quitecontrary1977 said...

I used to work at an institution for the mentally challenged, which had over 150 residents. Only 2 residents there had Down Syndrome. People with Downs are usually self-sufficient and loving so there was always someone willing to act as guardian. Most of those living in the facility had Autism.I have a cousin with Downs and she has a job, friends and her own dog. She turned out to be a more productive member of society than her non-Downs siblings!

Lisa said...

Thanks Brandee (and Jen for posting this)...great video and what cute kids!! We too are blessed with a 7-year-old who was born with an extra chromosome like Terry. He lights up our lives daily and many members of his second grade class will agree that he is alot like them and they are glad he is their friend.

Anonymous said...

Our Zoey was the third of four grandchildren born within a five week period in 2005. Now at age 3, she is able to keep up with the other three in many ways. . We had no idea when she was born what to expect, as the DOWN Syndrome was a total surprise. Thank GOD for the group of people here in Peoria County who quickly started approaching us and letting us know that these children are blessings, just as any other child is. Zoey was very tiny when we got a call to come to the local DOWN Syndrome Breakfast for families with children age 0-3 years. We found out that these children are funny, active, learning to speak, naughty, and utterly delightful as children are at this precious age.
We discovered an amazing group of people associated with Easter Seals and the DOWN Association.

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