Local mothers shine light on Down Syndrome

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)-- Tuesday is World Down Syndrome day, so NewsChannel 6 met with two mothers who have children with the genetic disorder.

They said it's something to celebrate and that common misconceptions need to be addressed.

Linda Vitacco and Leadra Collins both have daughters with Down Syndrome. When they found out their babies would be born a little different, they say they felt confused, as most people do who have never experienced life around a person with the genetic disorder.

"And to be honest, I was devastated. I was heart broken. When you know you're having a baby, you have these dreams and all these visions of what life is going to be, and I didn't know any different. If I would have known then what I know now, it would have saved me a lot of heart ache. Amelia brings us so much joy," Vitacco said.

Both moms say it's important not to treat people with Down Syndrome differently.

"What I've learned is that my child can do anything that I can do, it just takes her a little longer to get it, that's all," Collins said.

"Individuals with down syndrome are more like everybody else than different. Everybody is an individual with their own strengths, their own things they need to work on," Collins said.

Collins and Vitacco said their daughters can do anything they put their minds to.

"Really the sky's the limit. Whatever she wants to do. I really don't think she needs to be placed in a box with anything," Collins said.

"What do I aspire for Peyton? Goodness, I aspire for Peyton the same thing my mother aspired for me. I want her to grow up, I want her to reach her full potential. I want her to go to college," Collins said.

"It's not gloom and doom like the old text books say. Especially if someone gets a prenatal diagnosis or has a baby with Down Syndrome, they think of what cannot be, and I want people to think of what can be," Vitacco concluded.

Show support for Down Syndrome on Tuesday by wearing colorful socks.

Collins says it's important to celebrate Down Syndrome everyday, not Just March 21st. She says acceptance is important for all who have disabilities.

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