KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In America, the abortion rate for a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome has dropped to 67 percent, according to a study released earlier this year by the National Institute of Health. Yet many people argue that 67 percent is still too high.
In honor of Down Syndrome month, this “My Special Child” report, reminds us that many people with Down Syndrome can complete high school, attend college and be gainfully employed.
Though Lee Jones has Down Syndrome he’s been making great accomplishments since he was just a little boy. It’s a message he wants these medical students to hear.
“Everyone, whether they have a disability or not have the right to have their own dreams, just because a person has a disability doesn’t lessen the importance of their dreams,” said Jones.
Lee learned to read at the age of three, was developing athletically by kindergarten, he graduated from high school, then from college with a bachelors degree. Today Lee lives on his own and works two jobs, including one at the Kauffman Foundation.
“I pass out mail, I know people really well so, I interact with them when I do that, then I do photocopying, mailing, scanning,” Jones explained.
Lee attributes his accomplishments to his personal determination and realistic goal setting. He also attributes his parents’ relentless commitment to his learning which was done with many small steps.
“I did my own laundry when I was in middle school at home,” he said.
Many times it was Lee who was setting the goals, like learning to drive and learning to scuba dive, and yes, it was much harder for Lee.
“We were studying for an algebra test in high school and Lee and I were both to about the breaking point, and he said ‘Mom don’t you realize this is hard for me?’ And I said sure,” Carolyn Jones, Lee’s mother, said.
It may have taken Lee longer to learn, but today, he’s far from being a burden on society. He works, he volunteers, and he is teaching the rest of us what people with down syndrome CAN accomplish.
October is Down syndrome month. For more information, resources and success stories visit the National Down Syndrome Society’s website at www.ndss.org
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