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Redefining the Perception of Challenge- Meet Sheryl and Diane

Twenty-seven percent of Americans experience some disability. One hundred percent are a part of our community. Each has a story.

Meet Tessa…

Tessa is a curious, fun-loving little girl that loves all things little girls her age love. Tessa was born with Down Syndrome which is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder and the leading cause of intellectual and developmental delay in the US and the world. Tessa’s mom enlightens our understanding of Down Syndrome and guides us in sharing that understanding with our children.

Their story will change you.

To the mom I saw in the store,

My family is a chaotic mess when we shop together. We are a tornado… so it’s no wonder that your daughter noticed mine. “Momma, look at that girl’s face!” You were very sweet, “Oh, isn’t she pretty?” Your daughter persisted, and you stayed positive. “She has such a pretty smile!” If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering if you handled our interaction well. You might be thinking about your little girl, like I am mine, and hoping that you helped her see the beauty in what is different. I wanted to thank you for not scolding your daughter. She’s so young, and curious. If I had been less frantic, and more brave, I would have smiled back and told her that Tessa looks a little different because she has Down syndrome. It is OK for you to use the words “Down syndrome” to explain one of the things that makes our girl unique. While it does not define who Tessa is, it helps our little ones understand why she is a little bit different. I hope you know how happy it made me to hear someone speak so sweetly about my daughter. Thank you.


How can we educate children so they are comfortable with differences?

Join the conversation at voiceability BLOG

Read Tessa’s full story at

Local nonprofit Valley Life for All is working to build inclusive communities where people of all abilities belong and contribute. We want to hear your voice. Request a training or join the conversation at or #voiceability4all. Help us redefine the perception of challenge.

Tessa’s Story is brought to you by:

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