Each year at our “Visions of Hope” gala, we include in the written program some of our current “thoughts” on Down syndrome. These “thoughts” reflect part of our journey with our son Nicholas. You’ll have to ignore the “thank you” at the bottom of each letter, since you are not attending our gala, but I didn’t want to alter the original letters.
When we first heard that our infant son had Down syndrome, our world collapsed. Like many, we knew very little about Down syndrome, and we feared that Nick’s disorder would darken the joy in our lives and compromise our family. After recovery from the initial shock, we discovered that our fears were both unfounded and outdated: the outlook for children with Down syndrome has changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years.We now know that Nick’s life is one of possibilities, not limitations. Those that spend a little time with him see nothing but an energetic, intelligent and sweet little boy. Nick has been and will continue to be a great blessing. We are thrilled by his personality and progress, and we expect he will lead a joy-filled and productive life.
The road is not as smooth for all children with Down syndrome. Many times new parents do not receive accurate information about this most common genetic disorder. Many times young children do not receive the early intervention services necessary to ensure they reach their potential. Sometimes even the professionals entrusted with their care lack updated knowledge about medical and therapeutic options.
Our vision of hope is that a time will come when new parents are not given the “bad” news. They are simply given the news. A time when obtaining services for children with Down syndrome is not a battle. It is just routine. And most importantly, a time when children with Down syndrome are not viewed as a drain on society as so often is the case, but are welcomed, valued and supported by their community for the diversity and love they bring into this world.
Thank you for joining us this evening. Your contributions will surely make a difference in the lives of children with Down syndrome.
William and Dana Halle