Karen was 44 years old when she and her husband decided they wanted to have a baby.  She saw a high-risk obstetrician and had monthly ultrasounds.  Everything looked healthy and normal.  But when Caleb was born, Karen was shocked to learn he had  Down syndrome and two heart defects.

More Joys than Challenges When Raising a Child with Down Syndrome

“Realizing his limitations and how we can bridge that gap into making him the most successful version of himself is a challenge,” Karen said.  Many people tend to judge a person based on their disabilities rather than their capabilities.  Karen hopes to prepare Caleb for the world by magnifying his strengths.

Caleb is very fortunate in terms of his health.  Neither of Caleb’s heart defects has required surgery in the ten years he’s been alive.  This is a relief to Karen and her husband now, but they didn’t feel that way in the beginning.  “Our daughter was a healthy child who didn’t have any health issues, so those two heart conditions were far scarier than the Down syndrome,” Karen said.

Any parent who has a child with Down syndrome says that their child brings them so much joy.  “It has been an amazing ride so far, and we are very excited to see what the future will bring,” Karen said.  Special needs children have a powerful effect on how you view people and the world.  They become more accepting, loving, and encouraging.

The Future for Those with Disabilities is Bright

Caleb’s diagnosis shaped his family’s life for the better.  Karen started working with advocacy and parent support groups after he was born.  Caleb’s older sister was 17-years-old when he was born.  She decided to study special education in college and now she’s a special education teacher.  People who advocate and teach those with disabilities are changing the future for those individuals.  “I certainly want Caleb to live in a world where he is asked, “How can I include you?”  We all belong in the world and we all have a part to play.”

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