My daughter, Madison, was born sixteen years ago at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. Etched forever in my mind is the encounter we had with one of the hospital’s geneticists who came to my hospital room to confirm Madison’s diagnosis of Down syndrome. After confirming that each of Madison’s cells had an extra chromosome 21, she matter-of-factly began to explain what that would mean in practical terms. “She will walk, of course, but I can’t tell you if she will read or write or even if you will be able to communicate with her.” She couldn’t have been less helpful and, for a professional, offered little optimism as to what life had in store for Madison. Part vendetta against the awful geneticist, part coping mechanism, I vowed that I would make it possible for Madison to reach her full potential, so that I could say, “Oh yes she can” anytime someone else told me what she might not be able to do. I’ve said, “Oh, yes she can” far more than I ever expected. Thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB/ESEA) and educators who clearly have believed in the premise of an equal, quality education for all children, Madison has benefitted from a regular education program since first grade. She currently is in the 9th grade and takes the standard 9th grade curriculum, supported by a special education teacher in each of her core classes who provides assistance to any and all students in the class who have an individualized education plan (IEP). She takes Virginia’s required health and drivers’ education classes without any support. I am so proud to say that not only can she read and write, but she made her high school’s A Honor Roll this past marking period. In addition, she passed drivers’ ed with an A and is now eligible to get her learner’s permit. Madison’s IQ falls in the mild to moderate range and, by its number, does not indicate that she would be able to reach the level of achievement that she has. I firmly believe that her success is due to our approach to raising Madison the same way we have our other two children – to have the highest expectations and to start from the premise that “she can.” Her success is also due to the teachers, school administrators and others who have had open minds and supported our aspirations to make sure that she is never held back by her diagnosis based on outdated or inaccurate perceptions. No one knows what anyone’s full potential is unless they are given the opportunity to reach it. I look forward to the time when “Oh yes they can” is the way all healthcare professionals, educators, legislators and society at large thinks about individuals with Down syndrome and their abilities.