Posted in Down syndrome, Health Issues and Special Needs Child, Physical Therapy and Special Needs, Speech and Occupational Therapy

Blog #127~So, Your Baby has Down syndrome

Blog #127~So, Your Baby has Down syndrome        

In October everything turns pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But did you know it’s also Down Syndrome Awareness Month?

Twenty-one years ago I gave birth to my son Nick. The doctor detected several markers that he might have Down syndrome.  The next day, a hospital social worker handed me two brochures about Down syndrome. That is was what I had to work off of.

Here are the facts about Down syndrome courtesy of The National Down Syndrome Society,

  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95 percent of cases, translocation accounts for about 4 percent and mosaicism accounts for about 1 percent.
  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
  • There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80 percent of children with Down syndrome are born to women younger than 35.
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
  • A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades — from 25 years old in 1983 to 60 years old today.
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work and participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
  • All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
  • Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

I think back on that 33-year-old mom who was unsure of her future. What advice would I give her today?

Down syndrome journey

First, I would say that everything is going to be OK. The path will be different and move slower. But your child will work through the low muscle tone with the help of early intervention programs. The benchmarks like sitting up, crawling, walking and eating solid food will take longer to reach. Try to be patient and rest assured that your child will hit them.

Nick, age one….


The next thing I would tell her is that there will be angels that light a path along the way. Embrace them and incorporate what you learn at home. The speech therapists will teach him how to blow bubbles, work on lip closure, feeding and to use sign language along with songs to communicate. The occupational and physical therapists will guide him in fine and gross motor skills. The teachers will hold the lantern and illuminate his mind. The social support groups will be your shoulders to lean on.


Finally, I would share this message. Your baby was born with Down syndrome, but they are a person first. People with Down syndrome experience the same emotions that you and I do. Your life will change for the better as you savor the sweet victories. They will steal your heart and touch others in ways you can’t imagine. Your child will bring a unique perspective of seeing the best of the human spirit.

Nick in Sox hat

This is my advice to the young mother who just gave birth to a beautiful baby, who just happens to have Down syndrome. That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂


Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs, Fun Side of Nick

Blog #126~Nick and the Varsity Football Team

Blog #126~Nick and the Varsity Football Team

Recently Nick and his respite worker Jodi were taking a walk around the Waubonsie Lake trail. Suddenly, Nick took off running towards the high school.  Jodi scanned past the trail to figure out what Nick was going after.  His face lights up.  Oh no, it’s the “KEY TREE!”

key tree

The football players hang their car keys here.

Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism. Long before the 34 fire alarms he has pulled since third grade, he discovered car remotes.  He sought them out feverishly.  He’d even fish them out of babysitter’s purses, run to the front door, and set off their car alarms.

Back to the key tree…… Nick is cheetah fast when it comes to setting off alarms.  Jodi had no intention of letting Nick disrupt football practice so she sacrificed her own remote to distract him.  Hey, I’ve said it before.  Its Nick’s world, the rest of us are just trying to keep up. 🙂

When football practice was over, Jodi took Nick over to say hi to the team. Her son, Tyler plays center for the Waubonsie Valley High School football team.  Nick is about half his size standing 5’2 and weighing barely 110 pounds soaking wet.

Nick with Tyler….

Nick and Tyler

On Thursday nights after practice, the players get treated to a pasta dinner. Nick helps set up and pour drinks for all the players.  He elbow bumped each player as they came through to get their food.

Nick loves his pasta!

Nick meatballs

He also assisted in cleaning up afterwards…..

Nick and Dan

After dinner Nick helped the coaches pass out the senior’s white jerseys. He kissed each jersey before he tossed them at the players.  They would laugh and elbow bump him as each passed through the line.

Nick has a way of livening things up. The Warrior football players are always excited to see him at practices and dinner.  They have named Nick their “Warrior Dude”.  As a mom, it makes me so happy to know that Nick is getting out in the world, meeting new friends and bringing smiles (and chuckles) along the way.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.  Go Warriors!

Nick and Football team

~Teresa 🙂

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome

Columbus Day

Columbus Day

Columbus Day

Nick is home today for Columbus Day holiday. I’ve decided enjoy the day with him instead of trying write.  Be sure and check our Facebook page, “Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism” for daily posts including informative articles, musings, fun pics and videos of Big Guy, Nick!

Have a great week!

Teresa and Nick 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

Computer Difficulties

Computer Difficulties


The good news is that I have bought a new, sleek MacBook Pro laptop!  The bad news is that the computers are in the shop while the data gets transferred over.  Please scroll down to the “archives” this week where you can enjoy over a 100 posts.  You’ll find a treasure chest of great stories and information about Down syndrome, autism and more. You can look up posts by “categories” or go down further to access the “archives”.  I look forward to sharing more about Nick’s world next Monday with you.  Have a great week!

~Teresa 🙂

IT team