Founder & Visionary in Chief

"I believe people with Down syndrome can do anything—really, really anything!"


I made my entrance into the world on Sunday, March 19, 1989. My mom and dad already had their hands full with my brother who was almost three. After a typical pregnancy and delivery, my parents were stunned to learn the news…I was born with Down syndrome.

Acting on the suggestion of a social worker at the hospital, my parents contacted the Association for Children with Down Syndrome, now known as ACDS, which specializes in the education of children with disabilities like mine. Six weeks later, Mom and I arrived to participate in the first “Infant Class” at ACDS. We thrived. I was even the first baby in my class to learn to walk, at just nine months old!

Walking came quickly, but talking was harder for me, so I learned American Sign Language. My favorite signs were “cookie” and “eat.” Mom and I started traveling to local elementary schools as Ambassadors for ACDS, where I got to show-off and teach others what a child with Down syndrome was capable of.

I started kindergarten in 1993, where four other children and I piloted the first inclusion class in the South Huntington School District. Today, integrated classes are an educational right but, for our district, we were the first! I loved being in classes with my typical peers. I stayed with them until seventh grade, when the academic demands became too challenging. I started taking smaller classes where I fine-tuned my skills.