It has been wondered, not proved, that Down Syndrome may be passed on genetically. So I called my Grandfather and asked him to tell me a little more about his nephew, Wally. Wally was my second cousin who had Down Syndrome. Here is his sad and happy story.
My great Uncle Walter and Aunt Ada Hinebaugh had three daughters and longed for a son. So at the age of 42 Aunt Ada had Wally. When the news of his Down Syndrome got to their very conservative church tragically they were asked to leave the congregation. I can't imagine the pain they must have felt; After the news of their sweet little baby having Downs and then losing their friends, their whole community and what should have been their support and comfort must have been more than they could bear. Aunt Ada was in school at the time of Wally's birth. She decided to change her major to Special Education. After graduating she started many programs for children with special needs and ended up in "Who's Who In America"!
When Wally was young there were no therapists that would come and work with your child at home. Because of this Walter and Ada decided that it was best for Wally to live in a group home that would provide him with the services that he needed. Wally enjoyed it there and would even want to return to the group home after Christmases and Summers spent at his parent's place. He found life outside of the group home too fast-paced.
Wally was able to speak and even learned how to play the guitar until later in life. One day at the group home he was encouraged by one of the workers there to get some fresh air out on a second story balcony. Unfortunately while out there he got locked out. In trying to get back into the building he fell off the balcony. So very sadly Wally spent the remainder of his days as a quadriplegic. Wally lived until the age of fifty-five.