3 Parents Advocating for Kids With Down Syndrome


October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. We’re featuring three of our favorite parents who are advocates for their children with Down Syndrome (there are also many more!). These families are breaking stereotypes and showing the world that every life is a gift!

1. Carissa Carroll

Carissa is mom to two boys and one girl, including Jack who has Down Syndrome. She founded Jack’s Baskets to celebrate every child born with Down syndrome and congratulate their family with gifts, support, and resources.

For the 2015 March for Life with the theme, “Every Life is a Gift,” Carissa shared her story and work with Jack’s Baskets. Its mission is to celebrate babies born with Down syndrome, to ensure that every new and expectant parent is provided resources and avenues of support within the community, and to educate medical providers on how to discuss the diagnosis in an unbiased way in hopes that the birth of a child with Down syndrome is celebrated like any other.

Carissa and Jack also joined the March for Life in an Instagram Takeover a few years ago. See the pictures here!

Thank you, Carissa, for being an advocate for Jack and kids and families with Down Syndrome!

2. Rick Smith

Rick is the father of two boys, with another on the way! His son Noah, has Down Syndrome, and since Noah’s birth, Rick has been a tireless advocate for his son and all individuals with Down Syndrome.

He runs an inspirational and informative blog, “Noah’s Dad.” We highly recommend one of his most shared posts, “What To Say To Someone Who Has Received A Down Syndrome Diagnosis.”

Rick, Noah, and family also joined us for an Instagram takeover this year. Check out the pictures here!

Thank you for all you do, Rick, for Noah and the Down Syndrome community!

3. Oakley Peterson

Oakley is mom to three precious children, including Welles who has Down Syndrome. She documents her life on the blog, “Nothing Down About It.” Her mission is to “encourage other mothers out there who are new to this situation. I was just there at the beginning and now offer you my support and love.” She further shares, “Our wonderful special children unite us with a unique bond and blessing and responsibility. Together we can shrug off stigmas and help people embrace the goodness of these angels among us! Together we can help all of our children realize their full potential.”

You can watch a short video about her family HERE.

Thank you, Oakley, for being a voice for Welles and all children with Down Syndrome!

  • American 1st.

    In my 33 years working in the field of Human Services, I have worked with children and adults with a variety of issues. Some were quite severe in the challenges they presented to the individual and/or family. Regardless, every person I worked with had a zeal for life that was reflected in their joy and appreciation for all things great and small.

    Their love of life was infectious and helped me appreciate every moment regardless of the circumstances. The folks I worked with loved life and certainly deserved to live the life they were blessed with. You may never know pure joy until you see it through their eyes and how much they enrich the lives of others.