When my youngest daughter was halfway through college, she decided to transfer to Texas A&M, a university that has an outstanding geoscience program. Our family entered Aggieland, with a completely unfamiliar culture. Texas Aggies have longstanding traditions – Ring Day, Midnight Yell, the Corps, the Elephant Walk, Aggie Muster, and so much more! I’m telling you this story simply to illustrate that sometimes there’s a whole world that you never knew existed.
This is kind of what it’s like when your baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome. Being given this diagnosis can be overwhelming at first because it’s outside your experience. You may feel extra protective of this lovely creature who seems so delicate. You may want to stay private. But a child with Down syndrome will not let you put a wall around her. The whole world is her friend. No matter what your expectations, a door to an entirely new world opens up for you.
There are Down syndrome associations in most cities, not to mention schools and programs for kids with Down syndrome, events, teen activities, Special Olympics, and many other opportunities to make friends and contacts. Most especially, there are interconnecting webs of families, all helping and supporting one another.
Texas Aggies recognize each other all over the world. If you are wearing an Aggie ring, you have a network of friends who will have your back no matter what. Families of children with Down syndrome are part of a similar club. If you see another family with a child with Down syndrome, you are instantly bonded. Not only that, you will know your mail carrier, your grocery store bagger, your salesperson, and your garbage collector. You will get to know the neighbor walking his dog (also the dog’s name, your neighbor’s cousin’s name, and the problems your neighbor is having with his arthritis). All because of your child with Down syndrome.
Today’s video is an introduction to what Down syndrome is, how it is diagnosed, and how we try to prepare you and your family to welcome your unique child.
Don’t forget to check out our interviews with parents and their children with Down syndrome. I want you to look forward to your baby’s future with no assumptions about their limitations, just excitement. So much love is coming your way!
You have my encouragement and love always!