Down Syndrome Support

Meet Nolan! He has Down syndrome, but to us, especially my 5 year-old, he’s just Nolan. Sure he may look a little different and talk a little different and develop a bit slower than his peers, but we have found that what makes him different makes him great. And that probably applies to all of us.

When we learned about his "diagnosis" we were certainly devastated. We thought we lost something, but we soon learned we couldn't have been more wrong. Sure, he might not be the doctor that I wanted him to be (those were my dreams anyway), but he is happy.

He has a smile that is contagious. He trusts without judgment. He loves unconditionally. He has taught me more than medical school ever did. I am a better doctor and a better dad than I ever would have been without him.

Nolan has also introduced us to one of the most loving and accepting communities ever. The Down Syndrome Community of Pittsburgh/Western Pennsylvania is a strong one. It's an active one. All moms and dads are special, but parents to kids with special needs are the shear definition of patience, courage and resilience. And we all have these qualities because our little heroes teach them to us all day, everyday. So we forge bonds. We navigate the wonderful journey of Down syndrome together. We celebrate even the smallest of victories and comfort each other should we hit a bump in the road.

If you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome, you are not alone. There are so many great resources available, such as the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh and the International Down Syndrome Coalition. There is also a great children’s book that highlights that differences are OK by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen titled, We’ll Paint the Octopus Red.

During National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, help us celebrate Down syndrome and the differences we all have that make all of us unique and great. Ask us about our kids – we love to brag as much as you! Let your kids ask us about our kids. Start with his name. For me, it's just Nolan!

- Brandon Reilly, MD, UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics – South Hills, Waterdam Office