Monday, March 19, 2012

Three things to know about Down syndrome

Our son was born almost two years ago with Down syndrome (also known as Trisomy 21 because he has three of the 21st chromosome). His birth introduced us to a whole new world. We have met amazing people who are traveling their own journey on the same path. We are thankful for the support we have received from friends, Joey's daycare providers and his therapists who join us in cheering Joey on every step of the way. Most of all, we find immense joy every day in our beautiful son who, though delayed a little in walking and talking, is really not any different than our other two children.

The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta (DSAA), of which I am a board member, has really come alongside us on our journey. It is through this group that I have made wonderful new friendships and that we have received valuable information to navigate the maze of therapies and services we will need and to equip us to be educated advocates for our son.

Three things I'd like you to know about Down syndrome:

  1. People with Down syndrome have infinite potential that is waiting to be tapped and encouraged. They have the same wants and desires as we all do and they deserve our love, respect and encouragement.
  2. Although Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic disorder, it has historically been the least researched. However, there is a growing interest in researching how to improve the cognitive function of individuals with Down syndrome with great progress being made therapeutically and medically. The DSAA helps fund Emory's Down syndrome clinic, which is participating in this research.
  3. Sadly, most OB/GYN's have an inaccurate picture of what a person with Down syndrome's life prospects are and tend to advise abortion for those receive a prenatal diagnosis. Some 90% of those babies given  a prenatal diagnosis end up aborted. The DSAA is embarking on an awareness campaign with local OB/GYNs to help them present a more accurate and updated picture of having a child with Down syndrome.

This Wednesday, 3/21 marks World Down Syndrome Day, would you please consider showing your support for Joey and other people with Down syndrome by donating $3.21 to the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. For less than a cup of Starbucks you can help an organization that provides advocacy, support, education and awareness on behalf of the Down syndrome community. Donate now at: http://www.atlantadsaa.org/what-we-do/world-down-syndrome-day/

I really appreciate your consideration.