Boundless Horizons: A Charismatic Boy’s Star Shines Bright





Boundless Horizons: A Charismatic Boy’s Star Shines Bright

     I am honored to share this post about a remarkable boy who finished middle school this year and will attend high school in the fall. I got to meet him the last year I taught when he came to visit my school. I was retiring the following fall, but he toured the school with his mom in the spring that year as a person who would start 6th grade in the fall. Immediately I knew this charismatic young person with Down syndrome would be successful in middle school. He was very social, outgoing, and loved to be funny. He had a firm handshake and said it was nice to meet me. As I introduced him to the office staff and other teachers, it was clear this young man was a dynamic individual who would do well in any new situation so that the transition would be smooth.

     In middle school, he auditioned and was chosen to be in the two musicals in his seventh and eighth-grade years. In 7th grade, he was in Beauty and the Beast Jr.; in 8th grade, he was in Wizard of Oz Jr. His drama director said he was an active and willing cast member. He was eager to warm up and start singing and seemed to love choreography days best. Our school is known for spectacular musicals with first-class choreography, singing, and acting. Even though he got exhausted and overwhelmed at times, he put in the work enthusiastically and friends were always there to support him. The result was a fantastic performance showing his love for being on stage. I can see his bright future and love of being on the stage. It will be fun to watch what he does next.

     At the eighth grade graduation, he got the Snickers Award for always making people smile and bringing joy to everyone. That is a lifetime achievement award that is valuable beyond measure. He was on the Student Council for all three years and was always willing to jump in and help with any project. He volunteered at the basketball concessions, made signs for various initiatives by the Student Council, and participated in leadership activities with his group leaders.

     This boy is thriving in big ways. Please consider his mother’s wise words. Tackle each stage as it comes so it seems more manageable than feeling like you need to know everything. These are words of wisdom that can apply to any diagnosis. That is excellent advice. It is wonderful to see the growth, and maturity he has shown. As his dad said, he is done with middle school and off to conquer the world! Lights, camera, action! This boy’s star is on the rise!


Q: What is one thing you wish teachers know about your child that is not on the IEP?

A: The depth of his intelligence- it just resurfaces differently. Assume competence!

Q: Scores on tests do not define the child. What is something your child is good at that is not reflected on tests?

A: Memorizing and recalling small details.


Q: How important is homework for your child? Is it just a burden, or is it a helpful learning tool?

A: We have yet to be issued homework


Q: How old was your child when you first knew he/she had special needs?

A: Birth/ Down syndrome


Q: What is one piece of advice you have for someone who has a newly diagnosed child?

A: You don’t need to know all the information over their whole lifespan right away. Just tackle each stage as it comes.


Q: What is one meal that everyone in your family likes to eat?



Q: What advice do you have for interacting with children with special needs?

A: Assume competence and give time and space to watch their reactions.


Q: What activities do you recommend to other parents to foster self-care?

A: Family time and individual alone time are equally important


Q: Are there any support groups that you recommend for parents or children?

A: I only know Down syndrome groups

  • Gigi’s Playhouse
  • Camp PALS
  • Diagnosis Network(DSDN)
  • Improvaneers
  • Global Down Syndrome Foundation
  • NDSC-National  Down Syndrome Society


Q: What are your favorite family activities?

A: Movies, cooking, board games, theater, skiing


     His mother’s words to assume competence could be changed to “expect excellence.” He continues blowing the roof off any expectations and showing everyone his potential is beyond measure. Her list of support groups for Down syndrome is extensive. Look at it carefully, and know they are excellent resources. This teenage boy is a great example of someone with Down syndrome’s capability. He has a wonderful family. He adores his big brother and chose him to be his confirmation sponsor this year. As a 15-year-old, he has his first summer job. He is a versatile teenage boy, someone anyone would be happy to meet. This incredible guy shows us all to assume competence, that his star knows no boundaries, and that the future looks bright!