Life is Good!
Kaitlyn & Nathan
Arianna is 13 years old. She happened to have been born with one extra chromosome, a fact that is neither positive nor negative but certainly has been a challenge for her in many ways. As parents we learned that the medical term is designated Trisomy 21. We feel very strong about using that term. Verbalizing that our daughter had Down Syndrome made us feel that we were making a prophecy about her future that impeded her growing into the person she really was truly capable of becoming. Since day one Arianna has been given an empty book to write her own story (her own life). No prognosis, no predictions were made on her future. She has proved us right. Her potential keeps increasing.
Elana's World Show Experience
As told by her mom, Lydia
Read about Elana's experience with horses in this article from Miniature Horse World Magazine, December 2010.
Reproduced with permission from Miniature Horse World Magazine
Becoming Independent and the Issue of Safety
Many parents are baffled by how to allow their teen or young adult son or daughter to have more independence and normalcy when they may have little or no sense of danger or caution in public situations. Parents pale at the thought of leaving their teens alone or allowing their young adult son or daughter to go out in the community unescorted.
As we have stated elsewhere in the articles on this website, the individual's processing level has much to do with his or her ability to comprehend complex situations. In addition to that, we really must explore WHY many individuals with DS do not have the necessary skills to function at home alone or in public places without supervision. Is this something that is part of the syndrome? Absolutely not.
Basic Behavioral Principles
Raising a teen isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. Teens with DS have some additional issues. If your teen has delayed auditory sequential processing, you may have very childish behavior coupled with very adolescent desires for autonomy. To make matters more complex, your teen may also lack a lot of “world experience” making it harder to interact in a mature manner.
How you handle teen behavior will be partially dependent on the processing level of the teen or young adult. If the individual is processing at a three, meaning able to take in three random pieces of information and give it back to you accurately, that individual will be bullish to have his or her own way. This is not an individual really able to problem solve or take other’s feelings into account. For this situation, it is good to have basic rules of conduct. There can be areas of conduct which are non-negotiable. These may be basic hygiene requirements, bedtime, attendance and obeying the rules at school, church or work. At a three level of processing, the individual will try hard to make their own choices in all areas that are perceived as negotiable whether they are practical or reasonable. It is best to keep a positive environment pointing out the good things in all situations.
Becca is an active teen and has been with NACD for quite a few years. Becca is working on Algebra and other high school level coursework. She has worked for several years doing volunteer jobs in her community. She particularly has enjoyed working at a local nursing home where she provides help and companionship to elderly folks. Becca is particularly proud of her paying job. She has a part-time job working at a local business where she does data entry, filing and other office duties. Becca’s employer finds her to be a good worker and she enjoys her time on the job.
Bryan went to public school through the 4th grade, but we have been homeschooling him since then. He is now 15. He had a really hard time with all the sensory stimulation there, but it took a long time to figure out what the problem was. He has been on NACD program for 2 1/2 years (since age 12) and has made remarkable progress.