The Mighty Logo

A Response to 'Born This Way' From the Father of Someone With Down Syndrome

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Did you see the first episode of “Born This Way“? What did you think?

I was delighted that any network would make a show about young adults with Down syndrome. A&E did it, and if the first show is any indication, did it well.

This is a reality show in the truest sense. The joys and fears these young adults own are no different. Their aspirations are typical. Which, of course, is the point. What’s different is, they don’t seem to harbor agendas or deal in guile or jealousy. They’re real people. Nice people. Who you see is who you get. Fantastic.

I was blown away by the collective self-awareness of the group and by their abilities to express themselves. These are all high-functioning people, sure. That doesn’t diminish their insights. Megan, who recently moved from Denver to Los Angeles, wants to be a movie producer. At one point, she and her mother sit on the beach and discuss Megan’s future. Mom is divorced and apparently has raised Megan by herself. On the beach, Megan makes it clear, in a sensitive way, that it is time for her to make her own way. It was a remarkably mature, adult conversation and reminded me of the talks my wife, Kerry, and I had with our daughter, Jillian. The other young people on the show are similarly insightful.

I believe the best thing about “Born This Way” is simply that it’s on the air. Familiarity eases fear. These people are sensitive, smart and funny. Same as most of our kids with disabilities.

This is a national opportunity for folks to see our kids rather than simply look at them. Those who take the time to watch will have their eyes opened.

   Paul Daugherty’s memoir about raising his daughter Jillian is available on and on his website at

Lead photo source: YouTube video screenshot

Originally published: December 10, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home