Monday, July 22, 2013

Local author brings awareness to Down syndrome

by Lorainne De Loreto from The Tampa Tribune:
RIVERVIEW - The expression "God never gives you more than you can handle" is a mantra the Tompkins family lives by every day.

So much so that Riverview resident Lisa Tompkins recently published a book, "Why Are You Looking at Me? I Just Have Down Syndrome." Her daughter Lynn, now 22, has struggled with people's reactions to the disorder for years.

Already parents of five children, three whom they adopted, the Tompkins welcomed Lynn into their home with open arms. What they weren't prepared for was the ridicule she would get everywhere they went.

"For awhile it seemed that she was not able to understand the reactions people had to her and she seemed to be unaffected," Tompkins said. "Until one day she asked me a question that broke my heart. 'Mommy, why don't they like my face?' I knew at that point I had to do something to help people to understand."

Down syndrome isn't a temporary condition, one that you can take medication for, Tompkins said.

"It is the way God made Lynnie," she said. "It is not contagious. I wish people could see her heart before they see her face. Her heart is so full of joy, acceptance and forgiveness."

Tompkins, a former licensed therapeutic foster parent, had never found a children's book dealing with Down syndrome.

"I wrote this book to be used as a tool by parents and teachers to help children embrace relationships with people who are different," Tompkins said. "It is OK to look, but please remember to follow the look with a smile or even a friendly hello."

Tompkins said she has been asked to write more books on the theme of disabilities but is currently concentrating on promoting her current book.

For more information, visit The book is available on, and

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