Down syndrome from a father's perspective.

Reason #21 Why having a child with Down syndrome is awesome

Treyton rocks his extra chromosome

If you are a dad that has just been told your child has Down syndrome I would guess you have a lot of feelings running through your system. I have yet to hear someone say, “I sure hope that our baby has Down syndrome.” No one hopes for a child with a disability but I am here to say that despite all of the questions and general feelings of  fear you are experiencing it will turn out way better than you ever expected.

Also known as (A.K.A.)

Like most parents we have nicknames for our kids. It is actually kind of ironic when you think about it; we spend so much time and effort picking out just the right name for each of our children and then call them something completely different. Most of the nicknames we have for our kids are some derivative of their name; Treyton has some of those but he has earned some other nicknames as well.

The boy called Trouble

If, when I come home from work, I am not immediately greeted by Treyton I will ask, “So, where is Trouble?” That’s what I call Treyton, he is trouble incarnate. It is not that he is bad, he is what I call a “creative thinker.” Just the other day he found a couple of metal disks that belong to some type of baking pan and decided to try and use them as skates to slide through the kitchen. Shortly after that he decided to see how they would work with his hands and bear walked around the room.

One of Treyton’s favorite activities is teasing our dog with food. At times he will ask for food simply to show it to the dog and then run. You first here Treyton giggle followed by a bunch of barking. Just the other day I heard the dog going nuts in the other room. It was a weird sounding bark so I went to check it out. What I saw was Treyton sitting on the couch looking at Petey. The dog was staring at the couch cushions doing a kind of whine/bark. I reached my hand between the cushions to find that Treyton had hidden some cookies there.  When I realized what Treyton did I cracked up! That’s what I mean when I say he is a creative thinker.

The Middle

This past winter we put a new bathroom in our basement. It was quite the process and I am thankful my dad was around to give me a hand and show me how. The one thing I could always count on was that Treyton was going to be nearby. He is interested in everything and ready to help. His three older sisters have always been like that as well. All my kids enjoy new experiences like that.

The key is that you need to be aware of where Treyton is. At one point I got focused on something and when I looked up I saw Treyton standing right next to his grandpa watching him pound in a nail. The thing is that his grandpa wasn’t aware of where Treyton was and Treyton had no idea of the consequences. Treyton was so close to the swinging hammer that his hair moved with each swing! Needless to say I grabbed Trey and got him out of the way.

Last weekend I repaired a part of my driveway that had cracked and sunk too low. Thankfully Treyton was not around when I used the cement saw to cut the cement. But, true to form, it wasn’t long before Treyton was sitting right there in the middle of where I was working. He was a mess after that project, I had to clean the cement off my tools, a rubber duck, and my son.

Treyton the Tornado

Maybe he has grown out of it but Treyton used to do what I called “house-shuffling.” He would pick something up in one room and bring it to the next room where he would put that object down and pick-up something else that he would carry to the next room.

Even if he doesn’t shuffle the house any longer it can still look like it. The kid is always moving and combined with his natural curiosity he can do amazing things to a house. Ask his mom!

Better than I would have ever imagined

Having a child with Down syndrome is a lot of work. There are more doctor appointments, therapists, as well as other considerations. But let me tell you, I would not change Treyton. I love him just the way he is. He is “rock’n that extra chromosome.” When Treyton runs up to me grinning from ear to ear I don’t think about the diagnosis. All I can think is, “Here comes Trouble!”

Rob Arnold has been married to his high school sweetheart for almost 19 years. Together they have three daughters and one son. He earned his bachelor's degree in General Business from Grand Valley State University as well as an MBA in Strategic Management from Davenport University. He enjoys reading, hunting, scuba diving, and spending time with his family.
  1. Tim Doctor

    Strong stuff, dad.