Do people with Down Syndrome have lives that are worth living?

Answer by Rich Young:

This is my daughter, now age 25. She's an international traveler. Here she is at an airport in Central America waiting for her flight.

Photo RBY

She speaks two languages (English and Spanish) and is working on a third (Italian).

She taught herself how to use a desktop computer when she was very little and completely unassisted. She owns and operates her own web tablet and is an expert at it.

She is a voracious reader and devours both books and magazines.

She makes friends instantly wherever she goes and she is semi-famous. Virtually everybody gets a hug when she sees them, even if meeting for the first time. If you get on an elevator with her, you will know all about her and her family by the time you get off at your floor.

Rachel has recently been ziplining in the Dominican Republic and during the same trip, climbed a waterfall while wearing a helmet and other protective gear. She also participated in a dolphin encounter and was palling around with a seal. She'll be ziplining again this Christmas in Costa Rica.

She is a movie buff and can give you the plot line and character names of over 100 films and much of the dialogue for great parts of many of them.

She conducts interviews and has a press pass for a Panamanian newspaper. She also has her own website where she publishes her writings.

Rachel also is a horseback rider. She started out at a therapeutic riding school in Missouri to learn better coordination and balance. She has gone on from that to do trail rides – the last time at a resort in the Dominican Republic.

In years past Rachel has also ridden both an elephant and a camel.

Here she is running the 400 meter track in northern Italy.

Photo NLY

Oh, and she also happens to have an extra chromosome in her DNA. That's an interesting fact, but in the final analysis, so what?

What do you think? Does she have a life worth living? How are you doing with what you were given to work with?

Added Note:
Thank you all for the upvotes, shares and positive comments.  You are all very kind. My wife and I and Rachel's six siblings (she is the youngest of seven) have just gotten used to the list of her accomplishments. Thus, when I am exposed to yet another statement like the one above which implies that such persons are somehow not fully capable of having a meaningful life or that their lives are not worth living is both maddening and sad. However, I am still grateful to that person for giving me the excuse to introduce you to her. I really mean that – thank you, OP.

We believe that our Heavenly Father really knows best and knows the end before the beginning. He has a plan for each of us and our happiness. So when he allows a child to come into this world that does not fit one's perception of what is perfect, we need to be very careful of assuming something about which we have limited or no understanding at all.

Photo BRY

That "less than perfect" child which the world can see as deficient may just end up making your own life better and make you an even better person. That has without a doubt been our experience since Rachel arrived over 25 years ago.

Most of you reading this only have two copies of the genes on chromosome 21 and she would never even think of holding that against you. She regrets that you were short-changed but is sure that you can overcome that.

Rachel says to tell you "Arrivederci"

Added Note #2:

A number of Rachel's new fans and friends have written to me (her father) asking for the web site where some of her work has been posted. There is a newspaper web site here at the western edge of Panama that features some of her artwork and this is the link that will allow you see just a few of her many, many drawings.

rachels page

Also, if you have not recently read any of the over 150 comments that others have left here for Rachel (below), you might enjoy the comments and remarks that people have left for her. I read all of them to her as we look at the computer screen together and many of them contain her own replies.

Thanks again for reading. -RBY

Do people with Down Syndrome have lives that are worth living?

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