Tanner: Living Without Limitations

Tanner’s birth into this world with Down syndrome was a surprise to some degree. The support from Dr. Nancy Clementino and CPCMG Encinitas from the day of his birth eased the transition into this unknown territory.

Dr. Clementino used kindness, love, sensitivity and diplomacy in delivering Tanner’s diagnosis. She remained a rock through our un-educated weeks after birth for both my husband and I. We felt like we weren’t alone and had someone in the medical profession to oversee Tanner’s care and provide us with resources we could use to help educate ourselves.

Tanner has had a number of health issues arise which CPCMG diagnosed. They provided advice and directed specialists to address these challenges, some precautionary and some that virtually saved his life.

After Tanner was born, another mom and I teamed up to start a “Mommy and Me” group for children with Down syndrome. We had the full support of the Exceptional Family Resource Center in San Marcos who sent representative Trish Shortall every week to educate us about whatever the moms were interested in learning about – health and wellness, inclusion and education, just to name a few. Our group started with just two moms and eventually grew to include 25 moms!

I am huge supporter of “Ability Awareness Week” which is held at the beginning of every school year in the Vista Unified School District. It’s a week of different activities designed to educate students about Inclusion and Special Needs. It’s a great kick-off event and helps promote an inclusive environment throughout the school year. I read the children’s book I wrote titled “A Special Bug Indeed” which adheres to the morals of not judging a book by its cover, since you never know what qualities someone may have to share. It is music related and has a rhyming flow so it is an easy read for kids of all ages. I also read my book to the students in the after school program and we do a question and answer period so they can openly ask me questions about Tanner’s needs, his strengths and what Down syndrome is.

Tanner is now 12 years old and thriving. He is in middle school, takes surf lessons, is an orange belt in karate and plays on a hockey team in San Diego. Tanner attends drama club and is an aspiring actor. He has a bright future ahead of him.

It honestly takes a village and we are proud to have CPCMG Encinitas and Dr. Clementino as advocates for our child’s health and well-being. Dr. Clementino really cares about him and his future. For that I will be forever grateful.