The Moment She Realized Her Son With Down Syndrome Could Truly Be Independent

"Down syndrome or other intellectual disabilities don't define what a person is capable of doing."

Most parents worry about their kids' well-being and the big and small life things that happen in between: whether they will graduate high school and make it to college, whether they will find a good job and a happy relationship, etc. But for parents of children who are differently-abled, sometimes the focus is on whether or not their child will ever be able to become an independent adult. 

In a recent Facebook post, mom Alethea Mshar, of the Writing Running Mom Facebook page, wrote about her 16-year-old son Alex, who has Down syndrome, and the moment she knew he'd be OK. 

"Alex wants to be independent; to live on his own, maybe with a spouse," she wrote. "As such, our goal has been to prepare for him to make this happen. I sometimes (often) wonder if he can do it. I worry about the what ifs and the innumerable steps between now and then. I'm concerned that we aren't teaching him enough or that he won't learn it all." 

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During one rushed morning, however, her worries about whether her son could be independent were put to rest.

Mshar explained in the post from October 25 that she had just returned from a wedding in Colorado with a cold and her partner was out of town for work. When her alarm went off, she shut it off. When she woke up again, it was 31 minutes later, leaving her just 20 minutes to get ready and leave the house. 

Understandably, she panicked and "ran downstairs in a tizzy, mentally prioritizing what to do first."

When she got to the kitchen she was surprised to see what was going on.

"With confusion, I surveyed the scene that I entered," she recalled. "[Her son] Ben sitting at the table with his breakfast, and Alex, fully dressed and emptying the dishwasher."

It turned out Alex had gone through their usual morning routine on his own and prepared things for himself and his brother. 

"He knew what to do, and he rescued our morning. All I had left to do was tie up the loose ends," the mama wrote. 

"There will be ups and downs along the way, but this guy is on his way to independence. I couldn't be more proud."

Mshar told A Plus that she spoke to her son about the moment. "I did tell Alex how proud I am of him for being so kind and responsible. He lit up, thrilled that he had done something so mature and had made me so happy."

"Alex has a strong desire to be independent, both in the day to day and in the big picture," she continued, "He does chores, makes his own breakfast and lunch, and gets ready for each day independently, but getting breakfast for his brother and helping him get started on his day was a big leap in that direction."

Facebook commenters are praising Alex and reflecting on how special this must be for him and his family.

Mshar told A Plus that she hopes people reading the story see the potential in those with Down syndrome or other differences. "People are commenting that their children without Down syndrome are not yet that responsible or capable. That's exactly what I hope people see."

"I want them to understand that Down syndrome or other intellectual disabilities don't define what a person is capable of doing. At the age of 16, Alex has learned so much, and he's still working hard and learning more every day."

(H/T: PopSugar)

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