My Story: A Letter To People Who Stare At My Teen Daughter With Down Syndrome

Keli GoochI saw you when you looked up with the familiar, inquisitive stare. When our eyes met, I noticed it.

Fear? Anxiety? Maybe.

I know when you see us, we may look a little “different,” and we may act differently, too. When we walk through the grocery store aisles, or any public place, I usually hold my daughter’s hand, or she holds my arm as we walk. She can tire easily and is easily distracted. Sometimes she makes loud noises — not always words, but still, her way of expression. For her, a simple trip can be complicated. The lights, the noise, the people; they can be exhausting.

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When she was just 2 or 3 years old, I don’t think many people took notice, and we didn’t receive all these curious looks. But she is 13 now. She has Down syndrome. She is awesome.