It isn’t often known that individuals with Down Syndrome can live long lives, many well into their fifties, sixties, and beyond. That means that you’re likely to see people with DS out in the work force, living on their own, and even marrying. Parents of children with DS should plan well in advance for their children to transition into these adult life experiences. Medical advances and high-quality care has improved life expectancy and the quality of life for these kids. In fact, 80 percent of DS children will live beyond the age of fifty-five. This is exciting, and yet a little scary for some parents to consider.
According to the law, children with special needs are “emancipated adults” at the age of eighteen. So parents must request and apply for guardianship if the child’s disability warrants it. Individuals with Down Syndrome can legally marry if they are emancipated, or if they have permission from legal guardians.
Recently, the touching wedding between two Down Syndrome adults was highlighted in an article in Time magazine. Sujeet Desai, age 24, has DS and yet has accomplished amazing things in his life. He graduated from high school with honors, receiving 5 International awards of recognition, and graduated from the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in Massachusetts after completing a two-year residency in Music and Human services. He has lived independently on a college campus with success, and started a job in Rome, NY for self-advocacy and disability awareness. He is a soloist and participates in self-advocacy workshops. But his greatest dream was to marry his sweetheart, Carrie Bergeron, a beautiful young woman who sings, plays instruments, writes stories, and also has Down Syndrome.
Their parents are completely supportive, and are helping them participate with the New York Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, to plan their married lives together. They comment that the couple will need “some support,” in this undertaking, but are willing to provide it. They say,
“Is it not the dream every mom and dad has for their special children?”
The marriage proposal is so sweet, it will bring tears to your eyes. You can watch it for yourself on Sujeet’s website, which is a wonderful inspirational place to visit. You can also learn about Carrie and her accomplishments by clicking here.
Sujeet’s parents say,
“As per requests from Sujeet’s many internet friends around the world, we plan to keep his website updated with follow-ups of their life together. Thank you for your blessings for our two angels. God meant to bring them together for a special purpose on this earth.”
Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here.