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My Daughter Is So Much More Than Her Down Syndrome Diagnosis

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My youngest daughter, Savannah, is 20 months old and is every bit of what you would expect a toddler to be. She is constantly busy,
always on the go and full of shenanigans. Her personality is as bright and robust as her beautiful almond shaped eyes and her contagious smile.

Savannah has Down syndrome. As a mother, I wish people could see past her diagnosis — she is so much more. Down syndrome is what she has, not who she is.

Savannah is radiant, full of life and full of joy. And if you spend a few minutes with her, she can’t help but share all that joy. She can tell when we are stressed, or just not at our happiest. She notices, then starts trying her hardest to change it, even with strangers sometimes.

When Savannah starts blowing kisses, you can’t help but feel better. She is so good at that.

One thing I wish I could change about Down syndrome is how much discrimination individuals with this diagnosis face. The outdated, inaccurate stereotypes. When Savannah develops interesting — but not exactly desirable — new habits, it’s automatically blamed on Down syndrome. So, instead of it being that Savannah has started spitting her drinks because she’s a toddler — and toddlers love to get a reaction from people — she’s spitting because she has Down syndrome. “That Down’s kid spits a lot, I guess that’s just what they do.” Or other, even more offensive things will be thought and spoken.

Smiling toddler with Down syndrome wearing a stripped navy and white shirt

What people don’t take the time to see is how determined she is. How motivated, strong, and what a fighter she is. From her premature birth, right up to now, almost two years down the road, she has never let anything stop her. Her resilience and drive are things that can’t be taught. She was just born that way.

Savannah has taught me more than I could ever teach her. She is this amazing, little lady who can light up the room with her smile and who inspires me. She is every bit of what you would expect a toddler to be. And she is so much more than a diagnosis.

Originally published: July 2, 2018
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