The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10012
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My Brother Vinny
My Brother Vinny

I learned the meaning of unconditional love when my brother Vinny was born. Vinny has Down Syndrome, and although never formally diagnosed, he probably as a degree of autism as well. Vinny's case is severe, he is 34 years old but mentally his about 1 and 1/2 years old. The doctors told my parents he wouldn't live to be 5 years old. Vinny needs constant supervision and help. There is nothing he can do independently, he never learned how to talk, his motor skills are very limited and mentally he will always be about 1 and 1/2 years old. Everything Vinny has done is in my heart - a great achievement. Simple tasks like learning to go the bathroom on the toilet took about 5 years for my brother to grasp. To an extent he can dress himself (provided there are no buttons or zippers), and he understands that he needs to put his shoes on before he goes outside (although he doesn't get right vs left foot). Yet Vinny tries each and every day to do each one of these things as best he can, he never gives up. So many people take the simple things in life for granted. My brother reminds us to be thankful for all those simple things. However, his greatest achievement is and will always be LOVE. He gives it unconditionally and taught me and my family how to love in a whole new way. When Vinny smiles, we all smile. When Vinny laughs, it warms our hearts. I am so lucky to have him as my little brother.




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