The Down’s Spectrum

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

The PSA you posted highlights how people with mild cases of Down Syndrome can flourish. The degree of impairment due to Down’s, however, is a spectrum. I have a close relative with Down’s who is severely affected. She learned to speak only for a year or two, then it was all forgotten. She is now in her mid-thirties and has not once slept through the night. In fact, as she has gotten older, she has developed Parkinson’s disease. She requires a cocktail of medications that sometimes leads to complete sleep deprivation.

Her kind and loving parents have rejected suggestions to institutionalize her throughout her life and given her the best life they possible could. But they are now elderly, and are her primary caregivers, taking turns spending all night awake with her. I know they do not have an ounce of regret for the choice they made to keep their child, but I would not judge other families who lack their strength.