Charlie and Milo McConnel are two amazing boys. Yet, some might find it unconventional that their parents, Dan and Julie are so happy to share their sons’ photos online.
The twins can often be found in pictures or videos, just getting on with their daily lives—yet what’s normal and every day for them has been inspiring people worldwide. They’ve garnered a lot of that attention and even turned viral because the twins were born with Down’s Syndrome.
Down’s is hereditary, a condition which often leads to slower brain and physical development. Parents who have kids with Down’s often face a range of additional challenges when raising their children, especially as the condition often comes with complications. These may include learning difficulties and health complications in their kids, such as heart disorders and poor vision.
Dan and Julie have allowed us an insider’s glimpse into the beautiful, much-overlooked side of raising kids who have Down’s. There are, of course, a fair few difficulties involved when you’re raising children with adaptive needs, but the joys and blessings are plentiful.
It’s why Julie and Dan aim to counter the bad rap around Down’s Syndrome; through photos and videos that are filled with joy and hope.
“My hope is to attract families that are receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child because that can be really scary. I hope that people will find us, and see that this is what life can be like,” the twins’ mom shared with reporters. “It can be fun, it’s full of love, it’s not scary. We have no regrets, and there is so much joy in our lives, and I hope that people will see that.”
Society is much better progressed than it used to be when it comes to understanding how Down’s works. However, fear of the unknown still leads many in doubt about how they might raise a kid with the condition. While society is more educated and welcoming of diversity, people who have Down’s still sometimes need to navigate age-old barriers when it comes to employment, getting hitched, and raising a family.
The McConnels hope to create an online space where parents can learn more about what Down’s Syndrome involves. Where they can come to make more sense of diagnoses and discover the upsides of the condition.
Like Julie McConnel wrote, she discovered an online, social media network that helped her when she and Dan got the twins’ diagnoses. It gave her the drive to create the very same so that other moms and dads had somewhere to turn.
“It takes them a little longer to meet milestones, but when they meet goals we celebrate like no other parents alive,” mentioned Julie. “We throw a party and we’re so excited for them when they accomplish those things.”
Milo and Charlie are non-identical twins—it’s statistically very rare that both were born with Down’s. In fact, the odds of this occurring are thought to be one in fourteen million. And Julie and Dan are overjoyed when they can offer comfort and knowledge to help other moms and dads going through what they went through.
Dan, the twins’ Dad, said: “It’s big to show everyone else that we are here, and there are all these kids in our community, and we hope that they will see us and remember us and that things will continue to change in our communities with lots of acceptance.”
Julie added: “We’re standing on the shoulders of other parents that have paved the way for all these things to happen and it’s an exciting time to have a child with Down syndrome…I want to see them grow up and do whatever they want to do.”