Know Me First...

Understanding The Facts

Down syndrome is a genetic condition where the existence of some or all of an extra 21st chromosome results in 47 total chromosomes compared to the typical 46. Also referred to as Trisomy 21, this condition results in a wide range of physical and mental distinctions, which can directly effect the development of the brain and body. Besides certain differences in physical attributes, individuals with Down syndrome may also be susceptible to complications such as heart issues, ear/eye problems, gastrointestinal blockage, and Endocarditis. Though there are variations of Down syndrome referred to as Mosaicism and Translocation, Trisomy 21 is the most common form, accounting for approximately 95% of reported cases.

What they don't tell you...

Your child will be capable of great things.

Chances are, your child will:

- Smile and laugh

- Play sports with friends

- Be naughty and mischievous

- Relish family occasions

- Make you proud

Indeed, raising a child with Down syndrome usually does involve some further responsibility. But after you learn more, you'll discover that there are amazing supports and resources to help your child thrive and grow. Love, patience, and determination are some of the qualities that nurture all children; this is no different for a child with Down syndrome. Emotions will likely run the gamut during this decision making process; dig deep; find the inspiration you need to say "I can do this." Your child will be capable of more than you can dream, so we urge you to not be distracted by one-sided negative impressions that are loosely grounded in old stereotypes. Open your heart to a bright and positive future filled with promise.

Welcome To Holland: By Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

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