March 21 (March 21=3 copies of the 21st chromosome) is World Down Syndrome Day and we are celebrating our beautiful son and all of the wonderful people we've met on our journey.
Lucas is nearly 2 1/2 and is growing and learning more each day...he is in an early intervention program at the University of Miami's Debbie School -- although I have many gripes about Miami, the one irrefutable thing is that Dade County has the ONLY center-based early intervention program in the country, and for that, we have been truly blessed. At the Debbie School, Lucas is one of the most popular and beloved kids -- his therapists are constantly gushing about him and we are so very proud of our inquisitive, loving, funny young son. Lucas is now enjoying puzzles, dancing, the pool, and playing with friends, he also still loves "reading" as he makes us read several books each night. His signing vocabulary continues to grow...probably about 80 words including just about every farm and zoo animal...and he's using about 12-20 spoken words.
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. One in every 733 live births is a child with Down syndrome, representing approximately 5,000 births per year in the United States alone. Today, more than 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome.
Individuals with Down syndrome live at home with their families and are active participants in the educational, vocational, social, and recreational activities of the community. They are integrated into the regular education system and take part in sports, camping, music, art programs and all the other activities of their communities. People with Down syndrome are valued members of their families and their communities, contributing to society in a variety of ways. Increasingly, individuals with Down syndrome graduate from high school with regular diplomas, participate in post-secondary academic and college experiences and, in some cases, receive college degrees.
Businesses are seeking young adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are being employed in small- and medium-sized offices: by banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, childcare, the sports field and in the computer industry. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and dedication.
Those with Down syndrome have feelings just like everyone else in the population and experience the full range of emotions. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior. People with Down syndrome date, socialize, form ongoing relationships and marry. The future is so very bright!
For more information about Down syndrome, please visit:
The National Down Syndrome Congress: http://www.ndsccenter.org
The National Down Syndrome Society: http://www.ndss.org
World Down Syndrome Day: http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/
Spread the Word to End the Word: http://www.specialolympics.org/03-31-09_Spread_the_Word.aspx