All parents have dreams for their children. When those dreams are disrupted by a diagnosis like Down Syndrome, it can be easy to stop dreaming—but Rainbows staff and organization is SO GOOD at saying: “Hey, don’t stop dreaming—just open your mind and dream a bit differently!”
“Getting the Down Syndrome diagnosis AFTER birth was a shock to us,” said Cindy, Billy’s mom. “There were so many questions about what was ahead.” Billy’s pediatrician, Dr. Larry Hund, and the social worker at the hospital recommended Rainbows.
Billy received Rainbows services almost from the time he was brought home from the hospital. At the early age of one month, Rainbows staff were already helping Cindy and Chuck, Billy’s dad, with identifying signs of speech and physical (rolling over) attributes. These services were delivered while Billy was at home.
“The professionals at Rainbows United truly cared about Billy and stood ready to answer our questions and concerns,” said Cindy. “They were very helpful in assisting us access and navigate the various services available to Billy outside of Rainbows, “KanCare” or Medicaid-supported services. It was also a great sense of peace of mind when we had a “dumb” question. Rainbows professionals always were on standby to answer these questions and concerns.”
When Billy was four years old, a Rainbows bus would arrive at the family’s home and Billy would board it and ride to a Rainbows facility for day services/care. This continued for a number of years. Billy would eventually be a regular attendee at Camp Woodchuck, which he greatly enjoyed.
“Billy has always been virtually 100% non-verbal which makes relationship-building more difficult,” said Cindy. “Rainbows helped him learn some sign language which gave him an outlet for communicating, but also helped show him how to interact with other Rainbows kids.”
“Rainbows helped us see that Billy had a great potential and helping him live a full life was a very worthy goal,” said Cindy. “They helped us see there is so much to REJOICE in when it comes to Billy and his life.”
Now 26 years old, Billy is a happy, upbeat young man who loves to help others. He knows he is physically strong and revels in being asked to “use his muscles” for the good of others. He is particularly helpful with yardwork and is an excellent helper when it comes to packing a car for a road trip.
Billy works at Goodwill Industries three days a week. He takes a bus both ways two days a week to Adult Day Services with Catholic Charities. Cindy and Chuck credit his very early years getting on a Rainbows bus as a positive learning experience for this adult activity.
Billy enjoys watching videos, helping in the yard, emptying the dishwasher and blowing out the birthday cake candles of his brother, sisters, and nieces and nephews! He also enjoys firefighters, fire trucks and horses and cowboys. Billy LOVES going to Catholic Mass each week—and sometimes during the week—with Mom and Dad. He also loves riding his ‘green machine’ on long walks with Mom and Dad.