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On World Down Syndrome Day, Nebraska family shows we're more alike than we are different

On World Down Syndrome Day people from across the globe celebrate the lives of those living with the disorder. In Hastings, one family celebrated their little girl at Mary Lanning Healthcare’s 3/21 Run. (NTV News/Ifesinachi Egbosimba)

On World Down Syndrome Day people from across the globe celebrate the lives of those living with the disorder. In Hastings, one family celebrated their little girl at Mary Lanning Healthcare’s 3/21 Run.

RyAnne Thompson is a 7-year-old from Hastings, with a big personality. She also happens to be one of the 6,000 children the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says are born each year in the U.S. with Down Syndrome.

"When we first found out that she had [Down Syndrome], I was still pregnant and I was scared to death," said Marya Thompson, RyAnne’s mom.

However, the mom of seven said she quickly found out she had no reason to worry.

“Takes her a little longer to catch on to things, but other than that she’s just another one of the kids who happens to have Down Syndrome," Marya said. "RyAnne can do anything."

Helping RyAnne on her journey are people like Brooke West at The Mary Lanning Healthcare Pediatric Rehabilitation.

West said increased access to assistive technology is allowing even more people with Down Syndrome to be able to communicate their wants and needs.

"They can push a button and that button will speak, whether it's a word or a phrase. Sometimes they don't' even have to push the button, they can control that computer with their eyes," West, a speech language pathologist at Mary Lanning Healthcare said.

At Wednesday’s event, RyAnne's family celebrated her life, one step at a time.

"I have so much love for her. I have learned more from that little girl in seven years, than I think I've learned in a lifetime," Marya said.

RyAnne's family also hoped to share a lesson they've each come to learn about people living with Down Syndrome.

"They're just like any other kid. I have seven and she is just as loved, just as amazing as all the other ones. She's more like my other kids than she is different,” Marya said.

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated each year on 3/21 because down syndrome occurs when someone has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

The third genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with down syndrome.

To learn about there resources available at Mary Lanning Healthcare Pediatric Rehabilitation to families living with Down Syndrome, click here.

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