Friday, November 2, 2012

Growing up with Down Syndrome

from Longview News-Journal by Robin Aaron:
Meredith Brooks is the mother of two little girls, Halle, 4 and Kate, 14 months. Both her daughters are a joy she says, but one of her daughters requires a different type of developmental attention. Kate has Down Syndrome.
Having grown up here in Bowie County as the daughter of Bates Family Funeral Home Director Robbie Bates, she says she had little exposure to the condition that would become closely related to her family.
“I did know a little bit,” Meredith said. “Sadly unless you’re in that situation dealing with a Down’s child, you can’t know what it’s like.”
Meredith Brooks now resides in Colorado. Two months after she and her husband moved there in June 2011, Kate was born.
The family was overjoyed at her arrival and say she looked exactly like her big sister.
“We had no idea she had Down’s till three days after her birth.”
Doctors also found out that baby Kate had four holes in her heart. As of now, three of those have healed. Doctors believe the final one will heal on its own.
According to Brooks, there are a great many misconceptions about Down Syndrome. One of these is the belief that it mainly strikes children whose mothers are ages 35 and older. At least 80 percent of parents of Down’s children are under 35.
The Brooks chose not to do all the invasive prenatal tests because of their faith.
“We had no reason to believe she would not be healthy,” Brooks said.
Since that time, the Brooks say they have learned so much from their youngest daughter about how to look at life and they can’t imagine being without her.
As long as children with Down’s are enriched they can do most anything normal children can do. Infact, Meredith says, Kate beat her sis on some of her developmental Milestones.
It is a misconception that children like Kate are stupid. Now these children are helped early on and are able to do anything most children are able to do. Proper training and therapy are important. Many of them still have decent IQ levels.
“Down Syndrome is a condition, but she is a child just like anybody else and deserves opportunity just like anybody else,” Books said.
According to Meredith, she and her husband have been saddened to discover that early testing produces a lot of false positives and negatives. Sadly 90 percent who learn that their child will be born with Down’s choose abortion.
“That is one of the saddest things to us,” She said. There are about 6,000 Downs children born in US annually. There is no particular race, nationality or religion that it affects.”
Kate’s song, her mom says is sung by Bill and Gloria Gaither. It says “I am a Promise, I am a possibility.”

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