A Family’s Journey

You’ll see children and adults with Down syndrome every day at the Frazer Center sharing their inner light, their giving hearts, the things that make them unique, and things that make them just like everyone else. Lucy Hudak is our youngest attendee with Down syndrome. Her mother Callie was gracious enough to share a bit of their story with us.

Ryan and Callie Hudak were living in Texas when Callie became pregnant with Lucy. Their first daughter Cate was 2 years old at the time. When Callie and Ryan first got the diagnosis that Lucy was going to have Down syndrome, they had a difficult time processing the news. But they relied on local and online support systems to help them through it. Once they knew they would be moving home to Atlanta, they began researching schools. They knew they wanted Cate and Lucy to go to the same school, and they wanted that learning environment to be inclusive. “The world is made up of all kinds of diversity and it’s important to us that our children see that reflected in their everyday lives,” says Callie. The girls began attending Frazer in 2016 when Cate was 4 years old, and Lucy was 16 months.

Callie has noticed that Lucy “is really social and loves being with her friends and teachers every day. Being at school and surrounded by peers pushes her to learn and grow in wonderful ways. The teachers have been a huge support, and it’s wonderful to bring her to school knowing that she’s surrounded by people who love her and want the best for her…. When I see Lucy and her classmates playing together, I love that they are all just kids. They play, hug, and have fun—and they also take toys from each other and drive each other crazy. They truly are more alike than different.”

When asked about the challenges they’ve faced since having Lucy, Callie says, “The biggest challenge so far doesn’t actually have anything to do with Lucy—loving Lucy is easy. It’s been navigating the ‘system’ to make sure Lucy has the resources and support she needs. There’s a saying that I’ve heard from a lot of moms who have children with special needs—I wouldn’t change you for the world, but I would change the world for you. It is absolutely true. I wish that our society was more set up to embrace, celebrate, and support differences. When we found out that Lucy had Down syndrome, there were so many unknowns. What we have since learned is how much joy Lucy brings into our lives. How her smile and laugh can light up a room. How her hugs are the best thing ever and can turn a bad day around. How silly and funny and curious and stubborn she is. How fiercely and deeply we love her. How much we are learning from her. I can honestly say that Lucy is a true joy and a blessing, and we can’t imagine our lives without her. I can’t wait to see the mountains Lucy is going to move as she gets older.”

We can’t either.

If you’d like to learn more about Down syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society website has a wealth of information.
And the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta is a great local resource for those seeking information and support.