Baton Rouge families share their stories, raise awareness on World Down Syndrome Day

Both families attribute speech, physical, and occupational therapy as key to optimizing their child’s development.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:20 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - March 21 is known as World Down Syndrome Day.

It’s being observed across the Capital Region as families and health experts raise awareness and share the importance of early intervention.

Indy Joy’s name was picked out before she was born. She entered the world four months ago and brought lots of smiles with her.

“It may take her longer to do things eventually, it may not,” said her mother, Cara Couvillion.

Indy was born with Down syndrome, which means she has decreased muscle tone, which can make hitting developmental milestones challenging or delayed.

“You’re not alone because it is a very scary journey, and you can feel very isolated and alone, but you’re not, and you have an amazing community here in Baton Rouge,” said Couvillion.

Indy gets to meet with Baileigh Roy, who is a Physical Therapist at Baton Rouge General.

“We see babies with down syndrome all the time, and we love our babies with Down syndrome,” said Roy.

“We’re working on her head control,” said Couvillion. “Even just her feedings, just making sure all of her little muscles inside her mouth are getting stronger and stronger.”

This mighty girl is on track for her four-month milestone.

“I really do believe that’s all due to the fact that we started very early with her,” said Couvillion.

The Armands are on the same journey with Warren, who’s about to be 15 months old.

“He is very vocal no matter where we’re at,” said Fallon Armand, Warren’s Mother. “The NICU at Baton Rouge General Bluebonnet is where we started our therapy journey. We started probably one week after he was born, and we’ve been doing therapy ever since. I contribute that to as part of the reason he’s doing as well as he is.”

“Therapy is such an important role in these babies’ lives and children’s lives,” said Roy.

Both families attribute speech, physical, and occupational therapy as key to optimizing their child’s development.

The big message this World Down Syndrome Day: “I just want her to feel included and be included in anything that she does in life because she is more than capable of doing absolutely anything that she wants to do in her life,” said Couvillion.

“Accept everybody for who they are no matter what they have,” said Armand.

The Down Syndrome Awareness Group of Baton Rouge is inviting you to its 2023 Buddy Walk. The event is happening Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the AZ Young Park.

The walk will start at 11 a.m. The organization provides numerous activities and new initiatives throughout the year to the Down syndrome community and resources to new families.

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