PARENTING
10/01/2015 07:00 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2015

48 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."

Along with the changing leaves and the excitement of Halloween, October is special because it's Down Syndrome Awareness Month. There are about 6,000 babies born with Down syndrome ever year in the United States, or about one child out of every 700.

We asked 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!

  • 1
    I wish people knew that no matter what my son goes through, he is probably the happiest person alive -- full of smiles and en
    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.
  • 2
    I wish people knew that he is an individual, just like everyone else. He may have Down syndrome, but he doesn't have every si
    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.
  • 3
    My daughter, Clover, is strong, brave, and capable. She loves with her whole heart. She works hard. And when she plays, she p
    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?
  • 4
    Lucy may have delayed expressive communication, but her receptive language is very high! Don't underestimate what she can do
    Megan Kuhn
    Lucy may have delayed expressive communication, but her receptive language is very high! Don't underestimate what she can do and understand!
  • 5
    I would love for people to know that there is a spectrum with Down syndrome, just like many other disorders. Just because my
    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.
  • 6
    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 sh
    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.
  • 7
    I wish people knew Savanna has hopes and dreams and a plan for her life. She fights, argues and stands up for herself. She ha
    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.
  • 8
    He can do everything a typical child does, it just takes him a little bit longer (this picture is of him scoring a touchdown
    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).
  • 9
    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
    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.
  • 10
    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 kn
    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.
  • 11
    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
    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.
  • 12
    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
    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.
  • 13
    I wish people understood that Down syndrome, in and of itself, is not something that should cause sympathy. I am grateful for
    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!
  • 14
    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 D
    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.
  • 15
    He matters. He is a very loved and valued member of his family and community, and he has taught me that life with Down syndro
    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.
  • 16
    My son, Wyatt, is not always happy. I think that's the biggest myth about Down syndrome children. He has many emotions, just
    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.
  • 17
    My son has more accomplishments than failures! Here he is in the current Toys R Us catalog (and look for him in the Christmas
    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.
  • 18
    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 litt
    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.
  • 19
    Don't ever underestimate her. She knows more than she says, thinks more than she speaks and notices more than you realize! Do
    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!
  • 20
    Seventeen years old and a big bad senior in high school! We have been told for his whole life that he wouldn't do certai
    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!
  • 21
    I wish people knew that my child might accomplish things your child never will, and your child might accomplish things my chi
    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.
  • 22
    Maura is extremely focused. Her speech therapist has told us on numerous occasions that it's very unusual for a child with Do
    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!
  • 23
    I wish that people wouldn't underestimate what Grace is capable of accomplishing. As with all my kids, I don't know what the
    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!!!
  • 24
    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 u
    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.
  • 25
    That she's just like any other child and is capable of amazing things. Also, she is very smart and manipulative in getting he
    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.
  • 26
    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
    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!
  • 27
    My daughter Chloe is funny, cheeky, feisty, clever and overall delightful. Our family life is no harder than yours. Just like
    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.
  • 28
    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
    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!
  • 29
    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
    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.
  • 30
    Gabriel is 11 years old, and the most difficult and rewarding child we have. Gabe has a HUGE heart, one than can never be bro
    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.

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