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Raising Identical Twins with Down Syndrome: A Choice This Mom Says She Never Regrets

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Read Their Neediest Cases Story Here & in The New York Times

"Ingrid Batista scooped up her 4-year-old daughter Alexia. “Hola, mi reina,” she said, covering her with kisses," writes New York Times reporter Emily Palmer in this special Neediest Cases story featured by The New York Times on Thanksgiving Day.  Kennedy Child Study Center, an affiliate of Catholic Charities NY, provides the family with help they need to thrive.

The “reina” — Spanish for “queen” — slid from her mother’s arms and divided her attention between a Disney show and a blue basket on the floor, which she used to crown herself. Her identical twin sister, Elexia, watched her play from a purple chair.

The sisters, who both have Down syndrome and are on the autism spectrum, cannot talk or hear, but Ms. Batista spoke a steady stream of affirmations to them.

“They may not understand the words I say,” she said on a recent afternoon. “But I think they can still feel what I say.”

Ms. Batista, 31, faces numerous challenges as a single mother raising disabled twins. Money is tight. The girls’ diets are limited to soft foods because of digestion problems. They are frequently ill.

The New York Times Neediest Cases campaign has featured Catholic Charities NY’s life-changing work for nearly a century.   What makes this special story stand out more is The Times chose to feature it on Thanksgiving Day AND it is their first Neediest Cases story published in English and Spanish.

Twelve weeks into (Ms. Batista’s) pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed two unusually thick necks, a marker for Down syndrome…

The doctor said, “Your girls won’t be anything in this world.”...

Ms. Batista enrolled the twins in the Kennedy Child Study Center in Manhattan in fall 2016. The school, an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, one of the eight organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, provides one-on-one special education for children ages 3 to 5 with significant developmental delays. Students also receive physical, occupational and speech therapy…

 “I just want the world to see them as the princesses they are,” she said. “Because they are my princesses.”

Learning that a child has a developmental disability can overwhelm and devastate a family.  But prompt action during this difficult time -- including early diagnosis and intervention -- can change a child’s future.

Catholic Charities steps in by offering a range of services including special education preschool for children like Elexia & Alexia with developmental delays.

Find out more about Catholic Charities free services for children with Down syndrome and other special needs

Read Ms. Batista’s full profile in The New York Times

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