Imani's story is like many with Down Syndrome, yet still uniquely her own. Teri carried her to term, and she weight over 7lbs once she was born. However, things after that took a different and unexpected turn.
Doctors told Teri that her child-to-be has a 50% change of having Down Syndrome. Imani suffered a sickness at birth, and was rushed to a hospital 15-miles away, leaving Teri with only a photo of her newborn daughter. It was while recovering in the other hospital, that a geneticist ran tests on Imani a week later, and confirmed the Down Syndrome diagnosis.
In a harsh lapse of judgment, the doctor told Teri that they could have prevented all this before Imani was born, by terminating the pregnancy. Teri, infuriated and hurt, dismissed the doctor, and she never saw him again. Her focus was now on Imani. Doctors also found that the top valve in Imani's heart was still open and under-developed, and she had tiny holes in the heart itself. It's often called "Hole In Your Heart".
Tasked with a long recovery ahead of her, Teri focused fully on Imani's health, and learned all she could about Imani's heart condition, and Down Syndrome. Waiting until 2007, when Imani was four-years-old, for an operation, a cardiologist specialist repaired Imani's heart just before she started school. It beats strong and normal today.
Down Syndrome is often mislabeled as slow learning, and those with it are dismissed as less-than in society. However, understand Down Syndrome allows anyone to fully appreciate and interact with those who have Down Syndrome. That's what Imani's Place is for - to educate.
There are three different types of Down Syndrome. Standard Trisomy 21, Translocation, and Mosaicism. Standard Trisomy 21 is when the extra chromosome comes from either the egg or the sperm cell. Between 90-95% of all diagnosed Down Syndrome, as Imani, is Standard Trisomy 21. The doctors said Imani would develop normal socially but would have challenges in learning and comprehension. There was also a slight risk that she would never walk or talk.
While vocal, Imani only says a few words clearly. She is stimulated by social situations and easily learns technology. She loves music and sees no one as a stranger, only friends she hasn’t met yet. She’s certainly has proven the idea of not talking or walking to be a fallacy. It was in April 2017, that Imani (at age 12) started to display the ability to read and repeat back what she saw.
Find out how to interact with a Down Syndrome person, what to expect, and common misconceptions on the Down Syndrome Q&A page.