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A vast array of negative emotions and feelings are encountered by parents and family members when learning of a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Shock, denial and anger, blame and guilt, sadness and shame are experienced before acceptance. Many parents openly admit that their level of dismay was exacerbated by preconceived ideas of family life as well as career oriented goals for their child. Their situation is typically viewed as a loss of an ideal life. Once the stages of grief are experienced, there is acceptance of the loss. It is at this stage of the grieving process where the new reality is accepted as the state of normalcy.

During this profound period, hope is beginning to be sensed where it would previously had felt unattainable. Particularly now is when, as a result of a new state of normalcy, deeper questions are pondered in terms of the meaning of life, and the renewed sense of spirituality is often encountered. Ultimately, the forgiveness of self and letting go of the burden of being responsible for this situation unleashes the parents and loved ones of a child with Down Syndrome. This launches them into a condition where life is viewed through the eyes of the child and the beauty of a bond is begun. A new feeling of wonder is experienced and a lightening of their previously heavy hearts are experienced in contrast. The advancement of the soul is undeniable.

There is difficulty in the attempt to prove the causal relationship that exists between a person with Down Syndrome and their effect on those surrounding them. The struggle is defined by the very nature of the scope of concept. No litmus test exists for definitive determination. The true answers lie in the hearts and souls of the people who have been provided with this gift from Spirit.

Down Syndrome being a chromosomal abnormality is by no means a condition that is desired. Because society has a set of rules by which to define what is considered normal, struggle is naturally encountered in order to attempt to rationalize how having a child with Down Syndrome could even be possible for them. This is a deep wound that can catapult the parents into identifying with their Warrior Archetypes. Soon, it is learned that the struggle has a purpose. Tragedy on any level opens a philosophical door to seek greater understanding. Existentialism is innately delved into. It perhaps is possible that in order to cope with the shock that ensues as a result of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, one is somewhat forced to disassociate from their past mores and view life through a new set of eyes for the sake of pure survival. Therein one could argue, is the gift.

The fact that people with Down Syndrome have cognitive impairment can be seen both as a miracle and a call for further research. To be clear however it needs to be indicated that there are various degrees of impairment. The miraculous aspect is that this population has been given the blessing of perceiving their world in a manner of delight and bliss while changing the dynamics of the people who love them. In addition, this population generally does not have the verbal ability to explain how they view life, therefore we can only deduce this information based upon their behaviors, actions and reactions.

In terms of perceiving people with Down Syndrome as a gift from Spirit, improved cognitive therapies for the sake of their ability to describe and communicate their perspectives would be advantageous, to the extent that it did not tamper with the genuineness of the person while it sought to improve her quality of life.

This enchanting population of people have incredible volumes to offer in terms of life lessons and perspectives. May we all shine brilliantly because of their teachings.



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