Magazine

From the September 2013 magazine.

September 2013: Different, But Not Different

A woman with Down syndrome finds that when it comes to alcoholism, she’s just like everyone else

When I was brought into this world, I was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and I spent a lot of my childhood in hospitals. My parents taught me sign language until I developed muscles in my mouth. The nurses and doctors taught me how to walk and talk. I learned much more slowly than other children, and I began to talk later too. I also had open-heart surgery.

In elementary school, I learned how to write and do math. I was able to join the school drill team, and I even tried out for cheerleading and dancing and music. I did presentations and I got used to speaking in front of people. But I was teased and laughed at because of my disability. I was constantly picked on because I was different. I also wore glasses and had a big perm. My mom and dad started groups with parents who had children that were born with Down syndrome.

-- Nealy R.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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