Hi, my name is Whit Brand and I love Cookie Monster, buses, and music, as long as I get to control the playlist.
Whit is extra special, not just because he has an extra chromosome, but because of the impact he has on others. We found out that Whit was likely to have Down Syndrome during prenatal testing. We were thankful we found out early because it gave us a chance to process the news. I look back at how scared I was at hearing the diagnosis and want to laugh. This has not been without its challenges, but I was scared of the unknown, and now that we know Whit it’s so much easier.
We take each challenge as we face it and have leaned on our support system and faith to guide us through. We found out early on that Whit needed to have heart surgery. Around 50% of children with Down Syndrome have a congenital heart defect. Whit was born with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), essentially a hole between chambers in his heart that made it work too hard. He had open heart surgery at four months old at MUSC and we’re happy to report that it was successfully repaired!
Early Intervention and the services we received through Babynet were so valuable in supporting Whit’s development. We learned how to help Whit grow so much from his therapists. Although milestones are important, we chose to focus more on the daily achievements and little victories. Down Syndrome has given us the gift of perspective and allows us to take time to pause and celebrate each step along the way.
Whit has just started at Meyer Center and we are so happy with the education, structure, and focus he’s receiving there. He adores his teachers, therapists, and classmates, and we’ve seen so much progress even in his first few weeks.
Our goal as a family is to provide every opportunity needed to help Whit succeed and grow in all aspects of life. Our vision for Whit is for him to become an independent and contributing member to society, have a career that he is passionate about, and have the opportunity to develop meaningful friendships.
Our hope is for Whit is to be included and respected. He learns so much from his typical peers, and we think that others learn so much from him in return. Any parent fears that their child won’t be included, so let’s all remember to be kind.
We’re so thankful for our team of medical providers, therapists, teachers, family, and friends. We’re nothing without our community. We’re also thankful for KIND, the education that they bring, and the families we have met through this wonderful organization.
We hope you get to meet Whit soon and experience the joy he brings to the world.