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Wow three years have passed since my girls have walked the halls of ACDS… My husband and I were so excited to learn that we were having twins. And to find out they were girls, well that was exactly what we wanted to hear. (We already had two boys).

After many doctor appointments and tests a dark cloud, or at least I thought a dark cloud, started resting into my soul, creating fear… of what I thought to myself a child with a disability? Nah, God wouldn’t do that to me, to us, to our family! Nicolette and Michele were born during the blackout of “03 - I never felt so alone… Nicolette a beautiful, healthy baby girl and “perfect” in every way. Michele a tiny little thing all pretty and wrapped tightly to keep her little body from getting cold, looking at me sticking her tongue out…. I knew then all the worries were intuition that came to fruition.

Such mixed emotions… I knew things were going to be different the minute one doctor said to me when there is one abnormality there is usually two… She was so insensitive…

ACDS

Hours later in recovery…no air conditioning no cold water no visitors… they couldn’t get there since there were no traffic lights…
I heard the words that echoed in my head your little one has down syndrome… and is now in the NICU since she was having trouble due to her heart defect… the next few days, even years became a complete blur… now what do I do… I have no one to turn to… Oh yes, my family and friends were my cheerleaders and confidantes…but they don’t have a child with a disability? What do I do for Michele, where do I go? After countless meetings with doctors and finally yet another insensitive woman neurologist, I was handed a half filled beaten up folder with the words ACDS on the cover. Still thinking, why do I have to go through this?

After a few days I got the courage to call this Association for Children with Down Syndrome, and thank God… not a moment too soon… before I knew it I had a strong team of wonderful , educated ladies sitting in front of me… and holding my baby! Finally we found acceptance…and they understand! They answered my questions honestly, openly and lovingly, the same way I saw them hold my babies.

So my journey began.... I brought Michele and Nicolette to ‘Mommy and Me’… they had so much fun and then it dawned on me I was having fun too… I met other moms who I am proud to call my friends. These moms and dads love their baby too. And we are all accepted. We watched teachers, teacher assistants and therapists cheer our children as they reached new milestones. Enveloping our children with pride and love. Just like me. The staff is innovative, knowledgeable and always looking for new ways to help a child succeed. I knew I belonged there...and so did Michele and Nicolette. Although Nicolette did not have a disability she attended the program as well and it was perfect both academically and psychologically. She participated in the integrated program while learning acceptance of all people. An attribute that will take her far in life. As for Michele … well she was able to gain a strong physical and academic basis that she will take with her throughout her life, along with friends that will last a lifetime.

As graduation approached and kindergarten became a reality I realized the dark cloud broke apart, sunshine broke through…not just on my girls’ faces, but on mine too. I was given an opportunity to see the dedicated staff at work, and for that I will be forever grateful. I am reminded each day of the hard working staff of ACDS as Michele reads me a bedtime story each night.


If you have a personal story about ACDS that you would like to share, please email

Laurie Schaefer
lschaefer@acds.org

With your support, we can continue to assist children and adults with Down syndrome, Autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.
Your contribution can make a difference to a child and family, just like those families in the stories above.

Donate to ACDS Today!

 

 
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