In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I decided to ask parents of kids with Down syndrome about the stuff people just don’t get about their kids. There are so many misconceptions, misunderstandings and flat-out mistakes about children with DS, and just what having three copies of the 21st chromosome means. Things can be especially challenging when kids are little-little and in that stage where parents are constantly comparing milestones.
“One of the things people don’t get about kids with Down syndrome is that what may seem like a small milestone for other kids is a big deal to us,” says Rick Smith of Noah’s Dad, whose community also shared their thoughts. (That’s Noah at left.) “Noah has been going to speech, physical, and occupational therapy since he was 3 weeks old (he’ll be three in December) and he has worked very hard on developmental milestonestones that can come easily for typical children like rolling over, crawling, sitting up, holding and drinking from a bottle, walking and speech. We celebrate each of his milestones like he just won a gold medal in the Olympics because we’ve seen firsthand how hard he had to work to achieve it. So if you see us out at the mall cheering wildly at how well he is walking, just know we are cheering ten times as loud on the inside. We love our little boy and celebrate all of his hard work as often as we can!”
It’s a sentiment many parents of a child with special needs can relate to; my son, Max, has cerebral palsy, but he is similarly full of determination that’s worth cheering about. Check out 20 responses and stunning photos from other parents of kids with DS, all of whom couldn’t be more proud of their kids—and eager to let the world know just how much they rock.