My son Emmanuel is a special kid. He just enjoys every single thing in life. He is a very hard worker and a very happy child. Even though he has Down Syndrome, he is smart and a hungry learner. I don’t really see him as disabled. He just has some more challenges in his life. 

Learning to ride a bike has been hard for him but he’s getting there. He was really afraid of the water, but he has learned to swim and now it’s hard to get him out of the pool! He’s always saying, “I have an idea,” and he sings all the time. 

I’m a single mom with three other kids, so managing Emmanuel’s care isn’t always easy. He’s gone through occupational therapy at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. And they’ve even had a psychologist come to our house. He’s learning physical things like jumping and how to hop on one foot, but also strategies for him to handle going outside, meeting strangers, playing with other kids. So he’s learning to do things by himself when I’m not around. 

But he’s not the only one learning. He teaches me a lot. I used to be impatient. I want things done quick and right. But that’s not Emmanuel. And that’s OK, too. 

—Dora (Emmanuel's mom), Pawtucket RI