As parents, one of our fundamental goals is for our children to be happy. How would you feel if your child communicated with you every day that they were happy?

As a parent of an individual with Down syndrome, my hope is that my daughter is happy. Whether in a text, email, post-it note or phone call, I can proudly say that Maddy articulates every single day, “I am happy!” Maddy is one of many individuals with Down syndrome who express this feeling.

In 2011, Dr. Brian Skotko published Self-perceptions from People with Down Syndrome, a study surveying individuals with Down syndrome ages 12 and older. Ninety-nine percent of participants indicated that they were happy with their lives while 97% liked who they were. Individuals with Down syndrome not only bring happiness to friends and family members, but the report confirms that they lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Indeed, individuals with Down syndrome are capable of leading meaningful and productive lives. They may become employed, attend day programming or post-secondary education programs, find love, and choose where and with whom they want to live. Although these choices are based on the individual’s decision-making capability and interests, there is no reason for anyone to place a limit on what our loved ones can do.

Maddy is not “the Down syndrome girl,” or “the Down’s kid.” Maddy is a 17-year-old who loves her friends and family, baking anything chocolate, ice skating and learning new life skills. She also has Down syndrome. Although Maddy is not defined by her diagnosis, it is one of the things that makes her unique.

Maddy has helped me learn how to see people through a lens of wonder and purpose. I have been able to examine and interpret the world differently while my own life has been marked by love and joy from being her mom.

I look forward to celebrating World Down Syndrome Day with everyone on March 21st.

If you have any questions about planning for the future of your loved one with special needs, please contact us.

Randi Gillespie
Director of Special Needs Services
Oak Wealth Advisors



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