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Life With Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome can bring a lot of happiness to a family. Living with the motto ‘She can do anything you can do,’ one dad of four describes how his youngest enriches their everyday life.

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-I'm John O'Shay. We have four children; Marie Athena who is 11, Carl Patrick who is 10, Raymond John who is 9, and Shivaughn Kathleen who is 7. She's gone through about 17 heart procedures and has a constant buildup of fluid around her heart, which causes her to need to take Lasix so we go through a lot of diapers and a lot clothes. We have a very tight family and her siblings do a fabulous job of not only just relating to her, but then enjoying what it is that they're doing with her. As Shivaughn got older, they were constantly questioning about Shivaughn could do and what she couldn't do. And our answer always was Shivaughn can do anything you can do. It may just take her longer to understand it, it make take her longer to get there, but she can do anything that you can do. She brings life to her siblings and it really does give a sense of joy to my wife and I in that way that they can enjoy being with her and playing with her with no thought as to any issue with her. She gives life to a room that I've never seen other people have. Shivaughn walks in and the room just lights up and then she feeds off that. And it's nice because everyone realizes that while Shivaughn is different, there is no issue with relating to Shivaughn and everyone takes the time to really sit down and be with her in a way that doesn't make her feel apart from anything else. All children are different and we're blessed to have four wonderful children who are all different from each other in their own way, but there's never been a moment where I didn't think this was the way it was supposed to be. For whatever reason, this is what we've been blessed with and what we needed. And she needed us and it's made us better people. I see a child who really is gonna blossom into a beautiful young woman who is gonna continue to light the world up with her smile.