Leukemia is 20-30 times more likely in kids with Down syndrome than typical kids; about 2-3% of people with Down syndrome develop some form of leukemia – usually either ALL like Hope or AML (acute myeloid leukemia). I had read those statistics at some point, but Hope had always been in remarkably good health.
I cannot express enough how much richer my life, the other teachers, students, and people we worked with, received from being with them, teaching them, and socializing with them. I remember quite distinctly many students coming up and thanking me for letting my students with Down syndrome be included and part of the school.
I had never cared for a child that had Down Syndrome before, but have always shared a love for learning new experiences and have always expressed my interest in Special Needs Early Childhood Education. I educated myself on Down Syndrome, so that I could appropriately ask the family questions or share any of my concerns.
He just showed me that as his mom I could have been the first to handicap him. His voice was loud and clear to me and I am glad I had the heart and mind to listen.
Over the summer, 19 people with special needs were brutally murdered and 26 injured in a facility outside of Tokyo. Some of the people killed were 70 and some 18, just two years older than Robb.
Apparently there are two Gabby Douglas’s. There is the one we all know from the Olympics, and then the more famous one (in her own circle) is my Gabby Douglas, the one who has Down Syndrome.
Four years ago our lives began again. On April 20th we welcomed the newest member to our family. This pregnancy was nothing like my first. The cloak of mindless pregnancy complaints and carefree certainty was removed, doused in kerosene and set ablaze.
Sean is 15 years old and attends a public high school in Carroll County. He loves making videos and wants to be a videographer.
Shortly after my son was born with Down syndrome in 2000, representatives of my local Down syndrome organization visited Downside Up, an early intervention center in Russia. When Andy was about a year old, I read their newsletter article about this trip where they reported that more than 90% of the children with Down syndrome were institutionalized in Russia and that the parents of children with Down syndrome often faced isolation and discrimination.
In 1981, just before I turned 12, my family packed our belongings and emigrated my then 15 year old brother and I from the small island of Taiwan. I had understood that I was going to learn English and live in a place very different than Taiwan, but I would not fully grasp the different trajectory my life was about to take.
When I first found out that October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, my daughter Georgia was about eight months old. In those short eight months we crammed a lot of big experiences into our lives. Not only were my husband and I thrust into new parenthood with the birth of our first baby, we were also launched into the world of special needs.
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