55 Parents Of Kids With Down Syndrome Share What They Wish You Knew

"She's just like any other child and is capable of amazing things."

There are about 6,000 babies born with Down syndrome ever year in the United States, or about one child out of every 700. Whether you’re celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October or World Down Syndrome Day in March, we wanted to ask the HuffPost Parents community to share photos of their kids with Down syndrome and tell us one thing they wished people knew about their child.

“When we tell people that [our son] has Down syndrome, we wish their reaction wasn’t to say ‘I’m sorry.’” said mom Jessica Laughton. Christie Creasy added that her daughter “is just like any other child and is capable of amazing things” ― a sentiment echoed by many of the parents who responded.

Add your story to the comments below!

Savannah Stidham
I wish people knew that no matter what my son goes through, he is probably the happiest person alive -- full of smiles and energy. He gives people that special feeling when he hugs them. My son Payton is 5 years old and he is absolutely no different from the rest of the world.
Nicole Groves
My Son Tobiah is not only smart but very compassionate when it comes to others and their feelings. Tobiah LOVES a good book, making people life, singing and dancing! He brings a smile to everyone he comes in contact with, and the world needs a lot more of that!"
Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too
I wish people knew that he is an individual, just like everyone else. He may have Down syndrome, but he doesn't have every single characteristic of Down syndrome. He has his own features, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and traits that make him unique. Down syndrome is only a fraction of who he is.
Erin A Burger
My daughter, Clover, is strong, brave, and capable. She loves with her whole heart. She works hard. And when she plays, she plays hard. She loves cookies, and music, and going to the park. Sounds a lot like everybody else's kid, right?
Megan Kuhn
Lucy may have delayed expressive communication, but her receptive language is very high! Don't underestimate what she can do and understand!
Fifty Shades of Mommy
I would love for people to know that there is a spectrum with Down syndrome, just like many other disorders. Just because my daughter has Down syndrome doesn't automatically mean that she is going to be delayed in one area or the other. Please don't write her future for her. Down syndrome does not define who she is. She is a beautiful, spunky little girl that has the most amazing smile.
Susan Kearby Blanchard
She has a way of sensing when people need a hug. It used to freak me out when she would approach strangers, but every time she was welcomed with open arms. Every time they would share they were having a bad day, missed their child, had received bad news, sometimes with tears in their eyes. Now I just roll with it! Last week she hugged a older man at Applebee's. He said it was the best day of his year and he needed her hug more than she would ever know.
Nancy Heltemes
I wish people knew Savanna has hopes and dreams and a plan for her life. She fights, argues and stands up for herself. She has a direct line to God and the truest spirituality.
Kim Max's-Mom
He can do everything a typical child does, it just takes him a little bit longer (this picture is of him scoring a touchdown in flag football, at 5 years old).
Katie Morley
I wish people knew that we are just as happy as other parents. No need to pity us and our child with special needs. We are a typical family. We actually feel so lucky and honestly wouldn't change a thing. He makes us all better and he's just happily living his life.
Tina Donaldson
What I'd like everyone to know about my daughter with Down syndrome is that she is just like any other 6-year-old that you know. Rebekah has her strengths and weaknesses. She is beautiful, strong, smart, independent, funny, and a fighter. Her smile can light up a room. She will touch the heart of anyone she meets.
Leah Lundgren Spring
Down syndrome is nothing. We have six kids with Down syndrome and while our life is busy with six kids, it's not because they have Down syndrome -- it's because there are six kids. Six kids with six very different personalities and character traits. Six kids who want the same out of life as everyone else.
Carol Murray
I want others to know that she's more alike than not. That she's a fighter, resilient, brave, funny, smart and deserves to be treated the same as her typical peers.
Dena Castellano-Farrell
I wish people understood that Down syndrome, in and of itself, is not something that should cause sympathy. I am grateful for everything that extra chromosome has brought into our family. I have a healthy 11-year-old boy who adores his older brothers (most of the time), loves going to school (where he is in a general education class with some supports) and has friends with and without Down syndrome. He has an awesome life and I have no doubt that there are great things in store for him!
Wendy Norton
My son, Levi, just turned 6 and I'd like people to know that he is intelligent! I think most people assume that people with Down syndrome aren't, but he has an amazing memory for names, places, directions, etc. If we want to teach him something new, we just focus on it and he picks it up. Just because you have a developmental delay doesn't mean you can't be smart! We are from Sydney, Australia.
Stephanie Dann
He matters. He is a very loved and valued member of his family and community, and he has taught me that life with Down syndrome is not to be feared. Our life is more "normal" than not, and while it might not have been the life I ever would have picked for myself, I am so grateful this is the life I'm living. This precious little person has taught me more about life and love and compassion and humor and strength than all of my other life experiences combined. And I don't care if people think I'm trying to paint too saccharine a picture -- this life is wonderful, even with the hard parts.
Amanda Weber
My son, Wyatt, is not always happy. I think that's the biggest myth about Down syndrome children. He has many emotions, just like any child.
Zugey M-Jones
When someone with Down Syndrome enters your life, love will follow! Laughter, smiles -- you will begin to LIVE and look at the world with LOVE 💙💛 My daughter is no different from anyone else & she truly changed my life for the better!
Patricia Puskas Truel
My son has more accomplishments than failures! Here he is in the current Toys R Us catalog (and look for him in the Christmas Toy Guide as well, on page 75). He's done a photo campaign for imagesource.com and he's in the movie "Fan Girl" with Meg Ryan! Oh yeah, and I almost forgot -- he is in a new movie coming out called "Talking to God," where he plays a peasant.
Jonna Walker Stumpo
My son, Dexter, is a child just like yours. He eats, sleeps, poops and pees, and he laughs and he cries. Yes, he needs a little extra time and attention to hit his milestones, but nothing is stopping him! He loves bath time, music time, mealtime and family time. He loves his sister, Mommy and Daddy just like your child does. He is awesome! Seeing his excitement riding the carousel for the first time brought so much joy to my heart, it could have burst. I'm proud of my son, just like you are proud of yours.
Rodolfo N Martha Padilla
Don't ever underestimate her. She knows more than she says, thinks more than she speaks and notices more than you realize! Down syndrome does not define my daughter Lilliani, Down syndrome will not determine what she will be when she grows up -- she will!
DeAnna Greer
Seventeen years old and a big bad senior in high school! We have been told for his whole life that he wouldn't do certain things, but he has proven time and time again that he can do whatever he puts his mind to. He's strong-willed and oblivious to the "I can't" attitude that so many people have nowadays! Down syndrome doesn't define him any more than the fact I have green eyes defines me. It's part of him, yes, but to define him as just a kid with Down syndrome is anyone's first mistake. I wish others had his heart, because this world would be a better place with more people with the unconditional love my son has!
Andrea Temarantz
I wish people knew that my child might accomplish things your child never will, and your child might accomplish things my child never will. Every child is different. That's what makes them all beautiful and special. It is simply a part of who he is, but it doesn't define him.
Melissa A Bonkoski Calabria
Maura is extremely focused. Her speech therapist has told us on numerous occasions that it's very unusual for a child with Down syndrome to be as focused as she is. She watches every move your eyes and mouth make. We have learned so many awesome things from our squishy girl! She is also a twin, and one of six children. She also has an older set of twin sisters who are now 7 years old!
Jessica Amador Todora
I wish that people wouldn't underestimate what Grace is capable of accomplishing. As with all my kids, I don't know what the future holds and I will not set limits on her. I hate when people say she will never do something. As far as I'm concerned, she will do whatever she sets her mind to. She is bright, loving, funny, compassionate and just so happens to have Down syndrome. But Down syndrome doesn't define her. It's just one part of her. I love my sassy little cheerleader and wouldn't change her for the world!!!
Jennifer Cummins
I wish people knew to give him time. People don't know the 10-Second Rule. When I ask Braddock to go get his shoes, or pick up his toys, or go get a book, I have to count to ten in my head. Ten little seconds makes a world of difference with my kid. He's not dumb, or confused, or stupid. He. Just. Needs. TIME. Then they would see how smart and capable he is. This is my 4-year-old son Braddock. He's a pretty amazing kid.
Christie Creasy
That she's just like any other child and is capable of amazing things. Also, she is very smart and manipulative in getting her way. Don't ever underestimate my Ava! I could go on for days about what I want people to know and what I'm thankful for. She is my angel baby and I'm thankful I was blessed to be chosen to be her mommy.
Diana Quach
My soon-to-be-adopted son is sweet, fun and loving. He is my hero. I watch as he struggles with his health, getting poked and prodded for testing, and always looks at me with the most beautiful smile. I hold him in my arms, fearing for his pain, and he looks me in the eyes, cups my face and gives me wet kisses, telling me to be strong. This little angel came into this world struggling for his life, and he's the best gift sent to us!
Sarah Dawn Benich
His mom, dad, and brother love him more than anything, and we want others to be able to love him, too! Just like you and your neighbor are different, my son is different from others with Down syndrome. And just like you and your friends share similarities, he shares similarities with you, too. There are similarities and differences between him and you, just like with anybody else, special needs or not!
Kylie Austin
My daughter Chloe is funny, cheeky, feisty, clever and overall delightful. Our family life is no harder than yours. Just like you, I would do anything for my child and that is not a burden. I want you to know how emotionally astute and socially intelligent she is. When you know her, the thought of excluding or segregating her because of her diagnosis defies belief.
Jessica Laughton
My husband Patrick and I just had our first child and he was unexpectedly born with Down syndrome. He is just 8 days old and we are already learning so much. We are pretty fresh with all of this, but our baby boy Landon is proving to impress us and make us proud every day. When we tell people that he has Down syndrome, we wish their reaction wasn't to say "I'm sorry." I guess bigger than that, we wish it was "normalized" and not a label. We wish everyone could know that children with Down syndrome are just as capable of doing things as children without it. ALL children are special and amazing, no matter what they are "diagnosed" with.
Brooke Monville Gurd
Gabriel is 11 years old, and the most difficult and rewarding child we have. Gabe has a HUGE heart, one than can never be broken. He forgives easily and loves instantly! I thank God for him.
Kim Verrichia McGee
My son Nicholas is a slice of heaven on earth. He is pure, good-hearted, a hard worker, fun, smart, silly and loves the life he has been given. Get to know him and he will make a difference in your world!
Jennifer Hines
My daughter, Willow, has hopes, desires and dreams just like any other human! And she can do almost anything she puts her mind to. Willow's extra chromosome doesn't stand in her way.
Christina Logan
He is wild and fun and just a typical boy. His extra chromosome does not define him. I adopted Mikey at 10 days old and he is my world!
Jeff LaFay
I want people to know that he feels just like they do. He isn't some simple subhuman creature; he is my lovely, beautiful Nigel. He has a light in his heart that is bright, shimmering gold. He is very social and emotionally intelligent. Nigel makes friends everywhere he goes. He treats them with kindness, gives smiles often and hugs with warm sincerity. He's my Nigel and I wish that everyone could experience his kindness for themselves.
Heather Donnell
I wish people understood how much joy comes along with the struggles. Even though things are challenging, the milestones are even bigger!!!
Linda Lou Williams
People are people so why should it be, you can't see the reality.
Elaine Scougal
I have 2-year-old identical twins with Down syndrome. I wish people could look at my boys and see two little boys rather than seeing two boys who have Down syndrome. An extra chromosome, while part of them, most certainly doesn't define them. I also wish people didn't stereotype my children. They aren't destined to be happy or musical due to the presence of an extra chromosome as many seem to believe. If they are those things, it's because they've been raised to be that way. They have the same range of emotions as a "typically-chromosomed" person -- believe me, I'm dealing with tandem terrible twos!
Lynn Ludoviconi-Chambers
I want people to know about Caitlyn's witty one-liners! She is so smart and on it. She tells it as she sees it.
Jenna Williams
Our son is so funny, determined, loving and mischievous! Don’t put limitations on him simply because he has an extra chromosome! He is already breaking stereotypes, and he is only one year old. His future is so bright, and we feel honored that he is our son!
Brandi Michelle Martin
I would like people to know that he is such a smart young man, loves his family, values his new job and loves and plays his heart out for his baseball team! This is our Jordan who is 17 and is a senior this year!
Karen Bruderle Murray
As many others have said, people often underestimate Bridget's intelligence and emotional awareness. I wish people knew more about what are actually stereotypes about children with Down syndrome. At 6 years old, she's quite a perceptive, independent spirit who experiences challenges and victories like any other child does.
Amanda Chidester Longwell
My child is a product of her environment and her opportunities, just like any typical child, so do not limit her as well as ensure she and all children with disabilities have comparable access to quality inclusive education and extracurriculars just like any typical child does.
Robin DiGiacobbe
My son Nico is smart, brave, sweet and very capable. Please don't underestimate him because he has Down syndrome -- it's just one small part that makes up one amazing kid.
Jenn Smolik
My son is a baby, just like any other baby. Just because he was diagnosed with Down syndrome doesn't mean his life will turn out this way or that. Every day is new to us just as it was with our first son who doesn't have Down syndrome. We don't treat him any differently than his brother, and I don't want anyone else to either.
Jenny Chrest Blounts
That, much like her older sister who doesn't have Down syndrome, Hazel is bursting with potential. We have no idea who or what she will be, who she will love, what she will accomplish, where she will live or travel to, or what her personal challenges and triumphs will be. Like any other small child, her whole unknowable life is ahead of her.
Isabelle Gosselin
He is SO, SO loved, just as any other child!
Tracy Kessel Bowman
Don't underestimate her just because she happens to have Down syndrome. Cheyenne is very smart and can remember things that you and I forget: Where someone lives (without seeing the house and being a few streets away) or something she's seen on TV. Another thing is that just because she's mostly nonverbal, it doesn't mean that she is deaf and doesn't understand what you're saying. She also wants to hug everyone. She is such a blessing to our family.
Renee Brennan
Truth: When I started this journey, initially I was scared, angry and mournful -- mournful for the perfect baby that I desperately wanted to bring home. Could my friends and family love her? Would she be accepted by society? If someone could have told me then what I know now, I'd have brushed it all aside. Sometimes I feel like there may be pity coming from people when they find out she has a disability, but I wouldn't change a thing. Really. She's made me a better person. Sure, we have difficult times, but we persevere. She's changing the world little by little by teaching me and others within my world real life lessons about important things -- like love, acceptance, patience, understanding, and kindness... all done in only the way she can. Initially I was disappointed that she wasn't the gift that I special-ordered from God, that my baby wasn't perfect... but I've come to find that she is, she's the perfect Ruby. And for that I feel blessed, and I wouldn't change a thing. She has a place, she fills a role that only she is suited for and can fill. She is loved deeply, she is wanted more than words convey, and she is celebrated for being the best and only Ruby.
Cristina Rothfuss
Avery brings our family so much joy! We had a prenatal diagnosis and much of it was spent worrying. Avery has taught us there's nothing to worry about. She's a lot like our other three kids, and while it may take her longer to do things, we will never set limitations for her.
Krystalynn Kuehn-Wilson
Our babies are not genetic defects, mutations, or mistakes. She is a human being and a gift to be shared with the world.
Sherry McCaulley Palmer
The one thing I want people to know about my son Charley is that he is the only person I know who knows how to be himself 100 percent of the time. He doesn't know how to be fake, it's not in his genetic makeup. He is comfortable in his own skin and is happy being who he is. With his ability to love unconditionally, he is a role model for all who know him.
Nicole Starkey
I wish people had high expectations for Abby and presumed competence from the get-go. She will tell you when she needs your assistance. Don't count her out because you assume she either can't or won't be interested or able to do what her peers are doing.
Amy Jackson
He loves his family so much and is the best snuggler. He helps us appreciate the little things. He is impressively stubborn too, LOL!

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