Special Features

Having A Child With Down Syndrome Is A Blessing Says Akiko Thomson and Chips Guevara

In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, let’s find out why Akiko Thomson and Chips Guevara consider themselves lucky to be parents to their greatest blessing, Sachiko

For most people, it might be hard to imagine that families raising a child with Down Syndrome is just a little different — but it is. Yes, there are the doctor‘s appointments and therapies and other difficulties, but according to Akiko and Chips, they are vessels of grace who can do so much.

Although their story about having Sachiko is similar to that of other families with kids with Down Syndrome — they cried, they grew and realized that Sachiko was one of the best things that happened to them — it’s still a story that proves that these children are more than their diagnosis. And that it gets better.

Here’s what else we found out about raising a child with three copies of chromosome 21…

Raising a child with Down Syndrome is a blessing, and here’s why:

They bring out the best in you

Raising three young children — that Akiko fondly describes as wild, athletic and affectionate — is something both Akiko and Chips live for. The two older boys, Noah (10) and Elijah (8) are soccer obsessed, while water baby Sachiko (4), has taken after her mother. Fun fact: they all still sleep in the same room, a testament to their closeness. While Akiko is the disciplinarian and PIC of personal hygiene, Chips is the kids’ official playmate. “I play soccer with the boys and do Zumba and sing princess songs with Sachiko,” says Chips proudly.

They bring joy

For Akiko and Chips, Sachiko has been their household’s source of therapy during the pandemic. “She’s brought so much healing with just her presence and being,” shares Akiko. Chips agrees. “She can hug your stress away. Once she enters the room, the mood changes and everyone’s mood just lightens. She brings sunshine to our lives!”

They complete the family

In the rambunctious Thomson-Guevara household, Akiko is proud that Sachiko can hold her own, even with two silly older brothers. “Sachiko is absolutely the boss of them both,” says Chips, “The boys are also her physical therapist. Because of them, she’s become stronger — she has to defend herself against their smothering her with kisses!”

They change you as parents

For Akiko and Chips, having Sachiko has expanded the depths of their hearts and opened their eyes to so much more. It put new meaning to the word “adventure”: “Nobody knows what the future holds for children, SPED or typical,” Akiko reveals. It also made them appreciate milestones more.

So, how can we teach our kids to be more inclusive?

We can start by teaching our kids to put themselves in the shoes of others, says Akiko. “How would they feel if they were bullied, singled out, called names? How would they want to be treated?” Our kids need to understand that differences make life more beautiful and rich — there’s a whole lot out there to learn and discover!

Having a child with Down Syndrome can’t be easy — but if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Akiko and Chips, it’s that it isn’t scary. It gives you a perspective on life that you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Yes, your happy ending might be different from what you imagined but, as we can see with the Thomson-Guevaras, it is definitely and truly happy.

Because of Sachiko, the entire family lives with days filled with joy, love and healing. And during these bleak times, it’s the ray of sunshine we all desperately need.

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