My name is Betsy. I am a 25-year-old woman. I live in my own apartment, which is great because it gives me the privacy I want and a place to express myself. I can relax in my comfortable black leather lounge chair while I watch my favorite TV shows or I can pretend I am a rock star on stage at a concert. I have a great CD collection and my walls are papered with posters of rock stars. I enjoy experimenting with cosmetics and have created my own great make-up center. By the way, I have Down syndrome.
Having my own place has taught me how to be responsible for taking care of the things around me. I can travel independently in my community, and because of this, I am able to do the things that I like to do, like singing at my church; taking dance, aerobics, Weight Watchers, and adult school classes; as well as enjoying buffalo wings at my favorite restaurant. People know and welcome me at my local supermarket, deli, bank, hair salon and video store. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Yogi Berra Baseball Museum. It feels wonderful to be supported and respected in the community where I have grown up. I really love my life.
My advice for parents is to listen to your kids’ needs, wants, and dreams. Parents and kids need to work hard on their dreams if they want them to come true. Parents, stay focused on what you believe in and push for it with all your might.