Babies born with Down Syndrome have one extra chromosome, so they bring extra love as a part of their DNA. This extra love may come in the form of a forgiving spirit, beautiful empathy, extra hugs and snuggles, a smile that lights up the room, or in the form of the extra love and patience required to care for them and their extra needs.

Whether it’s the theme of giving or needing love, extra love weaves itself into the lives of their families, friends, and communities around them. This love is a love that changes us, if we let it.

There are many unexpected twists and turns on the journey of parenting a child with special needs. Parents may find themselves needing some extra love, too. But truth be told, we all have special needs. We may have different stories, different triumphs, and different struggles, but all of us could use some extra love. There is nothing quite like a timely hug, an unexpected kind word, a knowing look of compassion, or a gentle touch when any of us might feel isolated or like our struggle isn't known.

The world needs more understanding, more benefit of the doubt, and more love. We can all be a part of this beautiful journey, just by giving and receiving extra love.