Down Syndrome · Parenting

What having a child with Down Syndrome has taught me.

I have learned quite a bit about parenting over the past 16 years…  Most of it honestly, trial and error.  A combination of what my parents did, doing the exact opposite of what my parents did, and adding in my own ideas about what I wanted my family to be.  My first child was an unexpected surprise, that changed my world completely.  The following two, also not planned, but not completely unexpected.

Being a paIMG_1988rent is challenging… every child is so uniquely different and has needs that are specific to them.  You have to really invest time and effort into getting to know your child for who they are.  Then helping them flourish as individuals.  It took me awhile to understand this.  In fact, I may not have come to this understanding at all, had it not been for Emma.

Emma is my 5-year-old daughter and she has Down Syndrome.  We have raised her very much the same as her older brothers, but also realized very quickly, that she does not learn things in the same way.  Now make no mistake, she is very smart and a quick learner.  WE had to adjust our parenting skills to fit HER learning capabilities and that is not an easy thing to do.  It takes a very serious commitment, a lot of research, and teaching yourself a whole new skill set.  It is amazing though, the difference that it makes.

Now having this understanding, I have been able to go back and apply it to my boys which has helped them flourish as well….  If only I had known from the beginning.  So raising your kids to be amazing in the world is a tough task, with or without Down Syndrome.  You have to be willing to change, grow, and better yourself, to be the best that you can…..  for what your children need from you!!

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