I have the most wonderful job in the world and that is being an auntie to Taylor and her little sister Trinity. Taylor is eight years old and Trinity is one. They both live in the home with their mother (Ayoca) and their father (Tyler). Taylor my oldest niece was blessed with an extra chromosome thus giving her the diagnosis of Down syndrome. However, the down in Down syndrome has not stopped my niece or me from having the happiest spirit of love and determination. I have been with niece since day one of her birth and the tears I cried at the hospital were one of great joy! When she looked me into my eyes, I knew that God had placed the right baby in my family and my goals and ambitions for her formed right away. I knew that I wanted to help my niece be the best that she could be! Taylor is currently in the third grade. She has great friends and amazing teachers. She loves going to school and lets her light of ambition, determination and “I can do it” attitude shine daily.
As a family, we have great faith in God. We know that Taylor can and will do whatever she sets her mind to do. Taylor is very active in Hot Shots of Hartwell, GA where she participates in cheer and ballet. Taylor has also had a great team of therapist since she began receiving services at two months old. This has helped her to make great progress as well as keep up with her peers. Taylor has been able to receive services that she needs because of the Katie Beckett Deeming Waiver. I do not know that she would have been able to receive all the early intervention therapies that she has needed thus far with out this waiver. We are very grateful for this waiver and what is has done for our family.
Sometimes I forget that Taylor has Down syndrome because she is my precious niece first and her diagnosis comes second. Taylor is like any other eight year old I know. She loves to sing, dance and play with her Barbie’s. Her favorite music artist is Justin Bieber. She just loves him! For her eighth birthday, her granny purchased Justin Bieber concert tickets for her. Her granny presented the tickets to her and she got so excited that she just fell back on the couch and said “oh my gosh!” These are the moments that I am grateful for and know that I have been blessed with an amazing niece. I also know that she is growing older but is still interested in the same things as her peers.
My goal for Taylor is to simply be herself! I want others to accept that God has given her an extra chromosome but that does not change who she is! I love this slogan put out by the National Down Syndrome Congress, “we are more alike than different” because we are. Taylor often says to me that “she is going to be a teacher,” I believe that and know that with help from God, her parents, myself, her teachers and the community that she can be whatever she wants to be. She also says that when “she is older she is going to get married,” I know that this is possible as well. We have very high expectations for her and encourage her to dream big because nothing can hold her back, not even an extra chromosome!