By: Diane Maxwell, grateful parent of an adult daughter with Down syndrome
Published on April 13, 2015
From the moment we first walked into the Adult Down Syndrome Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital 15 years ago and our daughter Christine became a patient there, we have been thankful to have done so. The Center provides specialized, comprehensive medical and psycho-social care for individuals with Down syndrome and their families, which we are extremely lucky to have access to so close to home.
Managing the health care needs for adults with Down syndrome is not easy. There is a myriad of issues to address, including sleep apnea, asthma, thyroid issues and celiac disease. Not only has the Adult Down Syndrome Center helped us to stay on top of all the health concerns that can significantly alter Christine’s life, it has also encouraged and empowered her to take an active role in managing her own health.
There is such a depth of knowledge at the Center and staff members are always upbeat; their words and actions put us at ease. Though we attend appointments to listen and sometimes bring clarity, the entire focus and conversation is directed to our daughter—which is refreshing. Yes, she has Down syndrome, but she is 38 years old and in control of her life. She is a graduate of National Louis University’s PACE Program and has been employed by Cinemark Theater for 14 years. She enjoys exercising, playing the guitar, drawing, writing and so much more. My husband and I are extremely proud of her take-charge attitude concerning her health and life itself.
If you ask Christine about her thoughts on her health, she is pleased to share “I am healthy thanks to my doctor. Dr. Brian Chicoine is fantastic.” And my husband and I support that sentiment 100 percent. Our gratitude to Dr. Chicoine and his colleagues inspires us to give to support the Adult Down Syndrome Center, and we are so thankful to everyone else whose support also helps the Center provide such outstanding care.