Hamburg brothers with Down Syndrome reaching new goals

Hamburg brothers with Down Syndrome reaching new goals


OCTOBER IS DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS MONTH, AND FOR ONE LOCAL FAMILY IT’S A REASON TO BE TWICE AS THANKFUL. NEWS 4’S JENN SCHANZ JOINS ME LIVE IN THE STUDIO WITH THE STORY. JENN? NALINA, WE FIRST INTRODUCED YOU TO THE COFFEE FAMILY THIS TIME LAST YEAR. THEY’VE GOT TWO SONS WITH DOWN SYNDROME, AND HAVE MADE IT THERE MISSION TO RAISE AWARENESS AND SUPPORT FOR THIS DIAGNOSIS. MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW THEIR KIDS ARE JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE. ELIJAH AND GABRIEL COFFEE ARE YOUR TYPICAL KINDERGARTENERS. ((“THEY’VE REALLY STARTED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SOCIAL AND WHAT IT MEANS TO INTERACT WITH THEIR PEERS.”)) THEIR ADOPTIVE PARENTS KRISTEN AND DAVID KNEW THEY’D REACH ALL OF THEIR GOALS, EVEN IF IT TOOK THEM A LITTLE LONGER. ONE OF THOSE GOALS, WAS TO GO TO GENERAL ED SCHOOL. ((“WE TRY TO SET THEIR EXPECTATIONS HIGH BECAUSE IF YOU SET THEM TOO LOW, THEY’LL NEVER GET ANYWHERE.”)) THE BOYS STARTED KINDERGARTEN THIS YEAR AT BOSTON VALLEY IN HAMBURG. AND THIS SUMMER, GAB HIT THE BASEBALL FIELD, PLAYING HIS FIRST SEASON. ((“THEY FIT RIGHT IN WITH THE SMALL GROUP HERE, AND THEY’RE ABLE TO JOIN THE WHOLE ENTIRE KINDERGARTEN FOR SPECIALS LIKE MUSIC AND ART AND LIBRARY.” )) WE FIRST MET ELIJAH AND GABRIEL LAST YEAR. DAVID SAYS THEY’VE COME LEAPS AND BOUNDS SINCE THEN. AND THEY BOTH LOVE SCHOOL. SOMETHING MOM KRISTEN DOESN’T TAKE FOR GRANTED, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE GOING TO A SCHOOL LIKE THIS, WASN’T ALWAYS AN OPTION FOR CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME. ((“I THINK EVEN FIVE YEARS AGO, CHILDREN WERE STILL GOING TO JUST A VERY SPECIFIC PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME OR OTHER DISABILITES. AND NOW SLOWEY, WE’RE SEEING THEM BEING INCLUDED.”)) THE COFFEE BOYS ARE QUITE A HIT AT BOSTON VALLEY TOO, THEIR TEACHERS SAY THEY’RE SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES. GAB IS EVEN PALS WITH THE PRINCIPAL. KRISTEN HOPES HER SONS’ PROGRESS IS A REMINDER TO PARENTS OF HOW CAPABLE KIDS WITH DOWN SYNDROME ARE. IT’S HARD TO BE AROUND THESE TWO WITHOUT SMILING. IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THESE TWO HAPPY KINDERGARTENERS BOTH NEEDED OPEN HEART SURGERY AS INFANTS TO SURVIVE. AT 6- MEET A YOUNG ARTIST WITH DOWN SYNDROME WHO’S MAKING QUITE A NAME FOR HERSELF.

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