On November 18 2009 at 4:02 am William Alan Bartosch was joyfully welcomed into our family. He weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 in long. We were stunned to discover that he was born with Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome. We love him unconditionally from the top of his toe-head to the tips of his toes. We know that this diagnosis will not define him. He is a happy, healthy little boy that just happens to have an extra chromosome.

Follow us on this unexpected and exciting journey as we learn how to live life Will's Way.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

School Update

Will is doing really well at school.  He has totally adjusted to being there and is really starting to participate in the projects and play with the other kids.  The biggest help is that Aunt Meredith has been dropping him off on both days and that makes the seperation anxiety a lot less! 
He made applesauce last week, painted a perfect pumpkin picture with finger paints and had a dress-up halloween party last week where he trick-or-treated around the building.  He has been enjoying the sensory table that is filled with corn and gourds, and has been participating in story and song time as well.  He finally gave in and has been having some snack at the table with the other kiddos and has been walking back and forth in the classroom without a walker to get around.
These pictures are from last Wednesday from the observation window...so pardon the glare!  It was picture day so Mr. Will was all spiffed up:)  In the first picture you can see him playing in the sensory table, the second he is having a snack and in the third his teacher, Ms. Darla, is reading to him.
I am happy and relieved that he has decided that he kinda likes school.  His teacher told me that last week he was feeling so comfortable that he was even comforting a little girl that is still having a hard time!  All the teachers, therapists and volunteers there are great with him and all had good things to say at his 'conference'.  It is a great place for him to be!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Alike Than Different

Although it is sometimes hard for me to think about Will in adulthood, these young adults are quite inspiring.  Amazing self advocates with fulfilling lives!
I also love the saying at the beginning of the video by Maya Angelou...'Human beings are more alike than unalike, and what is true anywhere is true everywhere...'

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Right Words

The correct name of this diagnosis is Down syndrome. There is no apostrophe (Down). The “s” in syndrome is not capitalized (syndrome).
An individual with Down syndrome is an individual first and foremost. The emphasis should be on the person, not the disability. A person with Down syndrome has many other qualities and attributes that can be used to describe them.
Encourage people to use people-first language. “The person with Down syndrome”, not “the Down syndrome person.” A person with Down syndrome is not “a Downs”.
Words can create barriers. Recognize that a child is “a child with Down syndrome,” or that an adult is “an adult with Down syndrome.” Children with Down syndrome grow into adults with Down syndrome; they do not remain eternal children. Adults enjoy activities and companionship with other adults.
It is important to use the correct terminology. A person “has” Down syndrome, rather than “suffers from,” “is a victim of,” “is diseased with” or “afflicted by.”
Each person has his/her own unique strengths, capabilities and talents. Try not to use the clich├ęs that are so common when describing an individual with Down syndrome. To assume all people have the same characteristics or abilities is demeaning. Also, it reinforces the stereotype that “all people with Down syndrome are the same.”
Most of all never use the R-word.   When “retard” and “retarded” are used as synonyms for “dumb” or “stupid” by people without disabilities, it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.  The R-word, “retard,” is slang for the term mental retardation. Mental retardation was what doctors, psychologists, and other professionals used to describe people with significant intellectual impairment. Today the r-word has become a common word used by society as an insult for someone or something stupid. For example, you might hear someone say, “That is so retarded” or “Don’t be such a retard.” When used in this way, the r-word can apply to anyone or anything, and is not specific to someone with a disability. But, even when the r-word is not said to harm someone with a disability, it is hurtful.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Messy Boy!

Gym Class

I think Will is going to take a tumbling class at this gym this winter.  The women that started it came to talk to our support group and it is a great program!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Grandmas and The Grandpas

Will had a great weekend visiting Grandma and Grandpa Crandall and Grandpa Bartosch.  He also got to see his Aunt Amelia a lot too!  We went to visit Grandpa Bartosch at the deli he works at and then spent the afternoon at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens with Aunt Amelia and Tom too!  Will carved pumpkins and played with the cats at Grandma and Grandpa Crandall's the rest of the weekend and made us all laugh:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stubborn is...as Stubborn Does

I found this article very funny because Will is so very stubborn and I have never once blamed it on Down syndrome.  Often it is "Will's Way' even when I would prefer it be mommy's way, but since Ron is the only person I know that is more stubborn than me, it is quite fitting that our offspring would be as stubborn as God makes them:)  I think this article is quite true about my stubborn baby boy and it helps me approach his stubborness with a little more patience.  She wisely says, 'The only way to help anyone become less resistant is to help them to feel safe enough to try something new or different'.

Stubborn is...as Stubborn Does
by Carol Johnson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

It is interesting to me how many people talk about their child's stubborn behavior as if it was part and parcel with having Down syndrome. It isn't.
There are many people who are stubborn who do not have DS. In fact, in some situations, being stubborn is seen as a positive trait.
I have heard people say that the reason they came out as winners in a situation was because...“I was stubborn and no one was going to push me around .”
“They thought I would cave, but I was too stubborn to give up easily.”
So, what is this stubborn behavior that we see with students who have DS and how can we think about it?
I see stubborn behavior as a direct result of lacking the skills and/or language to negotiate a position.
Often, we will take a stance on something we care about and, right or wrong, stick to that stance until we understand or agree with another's view.
A student with DS will continue to do things in a specific way because it is safe, it is known and it has worked in the past. When we try to change their behavior, when we try to introduce new things, we threaten their "safe place."
Some of us are open to change and will accept change far better than others. This is the same for students with DS.
Some of us are able to argue our side of the issue, some of us can be persuasive and bring people to our view and not have to change — the other person changes.
Students with DS cannot do this as well. They lack the language, the cognitive flexibility needed in verbal discourse and the larger world view to win many verbal arguments. So...they look stubborn.
Think about it. If you were in a situation where you did not understand what was going on around you and people were trying to get you to do something you were unsure of, what would you do?
You would resist, you would stay doing what you know, you would be seen as stubborn. What if you did not have the language skills to share your views, what if the other party did not understand you or did not care about what you had to say? Then, you were punished or censured because you were seen as stubborn. How would this affect your level of cooperation the next time?
How would you respond to these people who "made you do something you did not understand nor even agree with?" You may become even more stubborn or resistive. And, they, in turn would see this as "noncompliance" or as a "problem." They would respond in a way that assumes that your stubbornness is
something that exists on its own; apart from you having a different view of the same situation or apart from your being unable to communicate, your point of view successfully.

How can we change the pattern?
By letting go of the myth of stubbornness and seeing stubborn behavior as resistance. Resistance to something new, resistance to something that is not understood, resistance to having others be in control, resistance to someone they may not trust or understand. The only way to help anyone become less resistant is to help them to feel safe enough to try something new or different.
When children are young, they will not respond very well to changes and will withdraw. As they grow older, they will use strategies that have worked in the past… withdrawing , not looking , pouting , sitting , throwing themselves down (stubborn-looking behaviors).
The more stubborn a student looks, the more useful this behavior has been in the past; using this repertoire of strategies has allowed the student to remain in a safe place.
Adults are part of the problem.
We have taught children what they need to do so we will stop pushing or so we will leave them as they want to be. Then, sometimes, we become angry. As we become angry, children resist further as they do not understand what is happening and are often upset with the situation as well. How many of us respond to anger if we are nervous about a situation?
How many of us would become less "stubborn" if someone demands that we do something that we are not sure about?

Some of the best people are just stubborn enough to hang in there when many others have given up on a child. So, join them.
Be stubborn about a child's ability to learn and help him or her to feel
safe enough to venture into new territory with you alongside.
Stubborn is...as Stubborn Does.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Time!

Will had a lot of fun this weekend carving the pumpkin.  He loved the goop:)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Look at Me Now!

I have been doing this here and there and everywhere lately.  I even walked all the way from the lobby to the speech therapists office like this on Friday!  On this video though I am again distracted by the camera:)

Friday, October 21, 2011


Will is so lucky to have cousins that he is so close to.  They are almost like siblings...in all the good and bad ways:)  They are great peers to him but they also just enjoy being silly together!

He is also extra lucky to not only have his grandmas and grandpas, but also a great grandma! Although I wish Will could have met all his great grandmas and great grandpas, I am grateful that he has had time with Grandma Brough because she is a pretty amazing lady! She has 6 children, 27 grandchildren and 50+ great grandchildren and has led a wonderful life.  Will is part of a pretty big family on all sides. He has lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas all around which is something you can never have too much of!

This weekend Will is going to visit Grandma and Grandpa Crandall and Grandma and Grandpa Bartosch for a weekend of fun!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting Better...

Will is getting better with the utensils.  I have a video of him using them but it won't upload (which is why this post is late!) so the pics will have to do for now.  The mess is killing me but he is doing so great with the utensils and is much more independent about it now.  He gets a little angry if I try to help:)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cool Genes

There are 3 main types of Down syndrome.  The types are nondisjunction, or Trisomy 21, translocation and mosaicism.  In nondisjunction, there is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome because of a lack of division of gametes, a sperm or egg cell, at some point prior to conception.  Trisomy 21 is the cause of approximately 95% of observed Down syndromes, with 88% coming from nondisjunction in the maternal gamete and 8% coming from nondisjunction in the paternal gamete.  This type is not inherited.  Will was tested by a geneticist when he was about a month old and had his complete karyotype reviewed and this determined that he indeed had nondisjunction.  A karyotype is a complete look at your chromosome numbers and characteristics under a microscope to look for differences in length or number.  Current research  has shown that Trisome 21 is due to a random event during the formation of sex cells. Down syndrome occurs in all ethnic groups and among all economic classes.  There has been no evidence that it is due to parental behavior (other than age) or environmental factors.Mosaicism occurs when either there is a nondisjunction event during an early cell division in a normal embryo and leads to a fraction of the cells with trisomy 21, or a Down syndrome embryo undergoes nondisjunction and some of the cells in the embryo revert to the normal chromosomal arrangement.  This type is rare and only accounts for 1-2% of Down sydrome diagnosis' and is also not inherited.
In translocation, the long arm of chromosome 21 breaks off and reattachs itself to another chromosome and it is usually chromosome 14.  This type of Ds occurs in about 2-3% of cases and is an inherited disorder.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Daddy Dressed Me

I apologize to my Indiana family and friends for this one...

Thanks grandma Sandy for all my Buckeye gear!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

ALL Life is a Precious

I am going to go a little 'political' for a moment.  I am pro-life and have always been.  I believe all life is precious from conception to natural death.  I personally don't believe God makes mistakes, but just that we humans don't always understand his choices for us.  These feelings aside, I found it staggering and heartbreaking that more than 90% of women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy.  90%!  I wish I could say that I was part of the 10%, but because of my age and the fact that it would not have made any difference, we did not have prenatal testing, therefore we found out of Will's extra chromosome on birth day.  It truly would not have made a difference for me to know but it would have made the rest of my pregnancy very difficult.  The flip side is that it made Will's birth day less than the joyous event that it should have been.  The truth is that there is no easy way to find out that the child you are carrying is less than perfect in most people's eyes.  I pray for the 90% and I feel sorry for them.  I feel sorry that they never got to know the amazing person that they were carrying just because that baby had an extra chromosome.  I don't blame them though, because I am sure it was a very hard decision for them and that they felt a lot of pressure from their doctors and from society to terminate their 'less than perfect' pregnancy.  That is a lot of unnecessary pressure.  Can you imagine how many more amazing individuals there would be among us with extra chromosomes if there were less pressure to terminate and more education on the diagnosis?  Pray for life.  Pray for the 90%.  Pray for awareness and acceptance.
To learn more go to... http://www.idscforlife.org/

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little Helper

Aside from blogging too much...this is why I can't get anything done!

and this...

Yes he is playing in the toilet!  I grabbed the camera instead of getting his hands out:)  I know this is so gross but a little funny.  For the record it was clean:)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Books and Blogs and Awareness

Have you ever looked at some of the blogs that I have linked to my page?  They are great!  I follow some others as well and I will have to add those soon.  Many blogs are doing the same thing as me for Down syndrome awareness month and blogging everyday.  It is called '31 for 21' with the 21 representing Trisomy 21.
Also check out some of the books I have listed or a number of others out there about Ds.  'Gifts' is a great way to start.  My sister got me that book just after Will was born and it was huge for me.  It changed my whole perspective!
Also if you are in Columbus one other awareness thing you can do this month is visit the exhibition called 'Shifting Perspectives' at the Dublin Arts Council.  It is '... a photographic exhibition providing insight into the joy and wonder of what it is to be human - and living with Down syndrome.' 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cincinnati Down Syndrome Clinic

Today we are headed to the Down syndrome clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  The have a clinic, doctors and therapists all dedicated to just Down syndrome patients.  We went last year and are happy to return and get a check up! 

So we went to the clinic, then on to the zoo, then to Jungle Jim's and then Ikea!  It was a fun but long day!

At the Down syndrome clinic we met with the team that consisted of a pediatrician, physical therapist, speech/feeding therapist, social worker and normally an occupational therapist but she was out today.  So they all met Will and played with him.  They took turns trying to get him to do different things and then 'graded' him on the stardardized scale.  Have I ever mentioned how much I had standardized tests!  They are unfair:(  I realize they are just a tool, but it just doesn't seem fair to reduce all Will has accomplished to what he will do for complete strangers in 1 hour.  It took him the first half hour just to warm up to them!  Again I know though that they are just a tool and necessary to see where Will is in his development.  So he actually rated well in gross motor and was at the 14 month range and she was very happy with his walking, cruising, standing, crawling and ball throwing.  He rated a little lower in fine motor and fell at the 12 month range.  She said he had good skills but got knocked for lack of isolating his finger consistently.  She did say that she was happy to see him starting to point to things that he wants, which is a huge developmental stage.  In speech  he got a 12 month rating for receptive language for the things he understood.  She ask him to put things in and hand things to her, and mostly he complied.  She also tested to see if he knew what to do with a baby doll and if he pretends with play cups for example.  He did pretty well with these, so I was surprised that he wasn't higher, but for some of the commands he was just being stubborn!  He knew just what to do with that baby doll though, thanks to Ava and Lillian, and hugged it right away.  He can be such a sweet boy:)  His expressive language was his worst test and the one I expected the worst score for.  He is only testing at the 9 month stage since he has almost no words, and they don't count signs for this test:(  She was encouraged that he has been babbling more and liked how he made the 'vroom' sound while playing with the cars and reminded me that above all delays in children with Down syndrome, expressive language is the most delayed.  The all had great suggestions for us and gave us many new things to work on at home.  The team as a whole works so well together and individually they are great doctors and therapists.  We are lucky to have them so close.  Although it is discouraging to hear these numbers, I know we have lots of good resources at our hands and that all of this is to be expected.  Oh and they all thought he was cute too:)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Famous Ties

Some famous people with ties to Down syndrome...

Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, has a son with Ds.
Liam Neeson, actor, has nephew with Ds.
Jamie Foxx, actor/singer, has a sister with Ds that lives with him.
Eva Longoria, actress, has a sister with Ds.
Albert Pujols, baseball player for St. Louis Cardinals, adopted his wife's daugher with Ds.
John C. McGinley, actor aka. Dr. Perry on Scrubs, has a son with Ds.
Gene Stallings, former University of AL football coach, has a son with Ds.
Eddie Lewis, US soccer player, has son with Ds.
Kathy Ireland, actress/model, has niece with Ds.

Will is playing in the 'corn box' at the Fall Festival!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Underfunding of Down Syndrome Research

I was shocked to find out that funding for research on Down syndrome has dropped dramatically in recent years. Funding of $23 million in 2003 has dropped to $17 million in 2008. This means that only $40 in research is being committed to each person with Down syndrome. $40!!!  In contrast, $3,000 in research is being allocated to each person with cystic fibrosis and $1,500 towards persons with Fragile X syndrome, both far less common medical conditions.  The reasons for this are that the number of people with Down syndrome is declining due to increased prenatal screening and what appears to be a growing trend among pregnant women to terminate their pregnancy if it’s likely their child will have Down syndrome.  Secondly, there is much more noise being made on behalf of other types of developmental disabilities. In particular, the money, star power and media attention behind the effort for more research for autism has overwhelmed many policy makers. Because young scientists are likely to seek funding focused on another disability, they’re less likely to devote their time and effort to Down syndrome.  In 2000, Congress passed the Children’s Health Act which, among other things, authorized research for a number of conditions including juvenile diabetes, Fragile X, asthma, epilepsy, autism, and traumatic brain injuries. Down syndrome, however, was not included.

There is hope though.  DownSyndrome Achieves is a national organization that was started last year in Columbus and is taking the lead in building research programs that will provide researchers the ability to conduct Down syndrome research.  DownSyndrome Achieves is credited with forming the nation's first Down syndrome research consortium, which will share resources, knowledge, information and technologies to accelerate DS research. The consortium consists of medical directors, clinicians, and researchers from nine different pediatric and academic institutions, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Nationwide Children's Hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic.  The leaders of the organization are families from Columbus and have kiddos with Ds and are very dedicated to the mission.  They are making good strides, but there is a lot of work to do.  Visit their website to join or donate or learn more... http://www.dsachieves.org/ .

Also check out these articles about funding and legislation.
Kathy Ireland has a niece with Down syndorme and speaks out about the tragic shortfall in Ds research... http://www.aolnews.com/2010/10/11/kathy-ireland-the-tragic-shortfall-in-down-syndrome-research/
Cathy McMorris (R-WA) has a daughter with Ds and introduces two bills to aid Down syndrome research...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Getting Closer...

By getting closer, I don't mean Will is getting closer to walking...he is walking very well...I mean that I am getting closer to getting Will's walking skills on camera!  He has been toddling back and forth from the chair to my outstretched arms for awhile now but I can't get it on camera:(  Everytime we are practicing our walking and I get out the camera, he suddenly loses interest in walking and wants to play with the camera...he is crawling towards it at the end of the video!  Will has been 'almost' walking for about 4 months and everyday he gains a little more balance and confidence and each week he takes another step.  He can pretty much toddle across the rug in our living room which is about 8 steps...give or take:)  Now if I can just get it on camera!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Indy Buddy Walk

Today is the Buddy Walk in Indianapolis, IN.  Will's uncle and godfather is volunteering in honor of Will.  Thanks Uncle Ricky:)  Their event is a little different than ours but the goal is the same...raise money for Down syndrome programs and research and promote awareness.  In fact, there are more than 300 Buddy Walk's going on around the country that all are a little different but all with this same mission.  The Buddy Walk was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  In 2010, 285,000 people across the country raised more than $11.2 million to support local programs and services, as well as National Down Syndrome Society advocacy and public awareness initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.  There is however, still lots of work to do.  Down syndrome is one of the most grossly underfunded disorders.  The Buddy Walk and the funds raised help with local and national programs but also help to better the position of the Down syndrome community, enabling us to positively influence local and national policy.
So plan ahead for next year and walk with Will or in honor of Will at your local Buddy Walk.  We will walk the Columbus Buddy Walk in September and also hope to participate in the Indy, Fort Wayne and Cleveland walks as well!  Thank you all for your support of our Buddy:)
http://www.columbusbuddywalk.org/  and http://www.dsaco.net/ (Columbus)
http://www.dsindiana.org/ (Indianpolis)
http://www.dsani.org/ (Fort Wayne)
http://www.theupsideofdowns.org/ (Cleveland)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Some Apple Juice A Day Keeps the Doctors Away

About 50% of the individuals with Down syndrome have heart defects, about 25% if not more have thyroid issues and about 10% have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth.  Life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent years, with the average life expectancy approaching that of peers without Down syndrome.  About 80% of adults with Down syndrome live to age 55 and beyond. 
Will was lucky to avoid both the heart and gastrointestional issues but does have hypothyroidism.  It is complicated for me to explain this since I barely have a grasp on it...everytime we see his endocrinologist I have her explain it again...but essentially it means that he is not producing enough thyroid hormone so his thyroid has to work extra hard to get its jobs done.  And I stress the jobS part.  The thyroid is very complicated and the type of hypothyroidism that babies with Ds have is a little different than most hypothyroidisms.  So we see the endocrinologist every 3 months.  We are on our second endocrinologist.  The first one really confused me and drew funny pictures on papertowels and I just didn't connect with him.  When I left, I was unsure if Will needed thyroid medicine or if my car needed an oil change.  The new endocrinolgist is much better.  She is very clear and concise when explaining everything to me and has great bedside manner.  For now Will is on daily thyroid medicine, which is really not affected our life like I thought it would.  It wouldn't have been an issue at all, except that because of the way thyroid medicine is absorbed, they only offer it in pill form.  Since Will can't take a pill yet, I had to get creative.  So with some help from another mom in our group that also has a kiddo on thyroid medicine, I figured out a way to crush it and put it into the end of a baby syringe, then suck up apple juice to make my own liquid concoction.  Most days he takes it without compliant and sucks the juice out.  Otherwise though, Will is a very happy, healthy, growing boy that likes to get into things and make messes and hates to get clean.  Pretty typical:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Another thing that Will recently started doing is babbling on the play phone.  This is something that I have been trying to get him to do to promote more speech sounds and finally he has started picking it up on his own and putting it to his ear to 'talk'.  I know that this falls in that most people barely notice when their kid does this catagory, but I was overly excited since I want him to babble more...but also since I love to talk!  My niece did this from a very young age so I also know it is a typical stage that kiddos go through, but he just wasn't interested until recently.  His speech therapist really encourages it since it is good pretend play that promotes lots of sounds.  We really like his new speech therapist.  We see her every other week at Children's in Dublin.  She mostly plays with will and trys to get him to either babble or sign or take turns with something.  So he calls grandma and we talk to his friends and sometimes we call daddy at work:) 
We also have a play microphone that he is starting to really play with and he loves to shout into his bucket to hear his voice as well.  He is signing several things too!  He signs more, all done, ball, daddy, mommy, milk (sometimes) and for a couple days after we went to the zoo, he signed elephant, but now he won't do it:(  So although he has no real words he is working hard in the speech realm. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Alike Than Different

Kiddos with Down syndrome are more like their typical peers than they are different.  The do almost all the things that typical kids do but it just takes them a little longer.  Often they work twice as hard and twice as long to accomplish something that a typical kid does without much thought or effort.  But they will do it.  I have to remind my self of this on the occasion but so far it has been true:)
Will got this ball game for Christmas last year.  For several months I would show him how to do it and then watch in frustration as he would take the balls and throw them and use the hammer to hit the balls across the floor.  So I put the toy away:(  Then a couple of weeks ago when Ava and Jonas were at our house, Jonas found the game and started playing with it the correct way.  When he got bored and put it down, Will crawled right over to it, pounded on the balls then put them back and started over!  I just shook my head in disbelief.  The influence of Ava and Jonas is priceless.  They are my little built in typical peer models which is a term used in special education for typically developing kids that serve as role models for delayed kiddos.  Will is so lucky to have them!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who is Down?

Down syndrome is named for John Langdon Down, an English physician who first published an accurate description of a person with Down syndrome in 1866.  In 1959, the French physician Jerome Lejeune identified Down syndrome as a chromosomal anomaly when he observed 47 chromosomes present in each cell of individuals with Ds instead of the normal 46.  The extra material is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome which is why Down syndrome is referred to as Trisomy 21 in the medical field.
I am not easily offended.  Some in the Down syndrome community find it offensive to say 'he has Down's' or 'he's a Down's'.  I do agree with the sentiment but I am just not offended because I likely said something of that nature before Will came into our lives or possibly about another disorder. 
I was once irritated when an older Audiologist was training a new doctor and while fitting him for the right ear piece she repeatedly said, 'he's a Down's, he's a Down's, don't forget he's a Down's', so that the new doctor would get a smaller ear piece.  Like I could forget!  I just wanted to tell her...he is not 'a Down's'...he is Will.  He has Down syndrome.  He is sweet and funny and stubborn.  He has more people that love him than you can imagine:)  He has clear, blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes and a smile that steals your heart.  He is not defined by Down syndrome.  He is Will...and he just happens to have an extra chromosome.

I will admit in the early days of Will's life I had to repeat this to myself often.  When I first brought my beautiful baby home from the hospital all I saw was Down syndrome.  So I kept telling myself that Ds did not define him, until one day I only saw Will.  I know it is hard for some people to see Will for who he is and not for his diagnosis since I did the same thing.  But Will is an amazing person and is not Down syndrome.  He is Will!