This is what’s possible.

Three years ago today, Jillian and her boyfriend Ryan walked the graduation line at Northern Kentucky University. They were the first students born with Down syndrome to do so, as part of a pilot program that since has received national attention. Jillian didn’t graduate in the traditional sense, of course. She passed 30 credit hours in four years. What she did do, though, was learn how to get along in the world. A big reason everyone goes to college is to learn to become self-reliant. By the time ¬†Jillian was a senior, she was taking four Metro buses to and from NKU every day. She works there now, full time. And she and Ryan have been married since last June. College helped each of them become a productive citizen of the world.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you what your child can and can’t do.

The sky’s the limit.

Thanks for reading.

Expect, don’t accept.



jillian and ryan grad


A speech in PA: Who has the syndrome?

Hi, again. Sorry so long away. I’ve started a new book, I’m promoting this one and, oh, yeah, I have a real job.

I was in Allentown, PA, this weekend, presenting for the Eastern Pa. Down Syndrome Center. The subject:

Who has the syndrome?

Jillian Daugherty Mavriplis, my daughter, is the nicest person I know.She embodies all that I look for in a good human being. She’s loving, empathetic, loyal, honest and selfless. Jillian is who the rest of us need to be.

The great thing is, Jillian isn’t unique. I’m betting that anyone reading this can apply the same descriptives to their children, friends and relatives born with Down syndrome. Nice people, yeah?

Another thing: Jillian always sees people. She never looks at them.

“Typical” people look. Maybe they don’t mean it, or even realize it. These are people who are nervous around our kids, who unwittingly drop the occasional R word. Or much worse, make assumptions about the person they’re looking at.

They’re not bad people, or mean people. They’re people who haven’t discovered the necessary magic of Seeing.Think of the human potential we’ve wasted for 400 years in this country, because we have looked at people and not seen them.

How do we eliminate the syndrome of typical people?

Educate them on the benefits of Seeing. The world becomes more diverse every day. Those who can embrace diversity and tolerance are the ones who will get ahead in life. It is the future. It is, in fact, the present.

Jillian passes no judgment, lives with no guile. Her agendas are transparent and loving. She will do well in this new world of ours.¬†And we say she’s the one with the syndrome.

Expect. Don’t Accept.

Thanks for reading.


BTW: My wife is re-designing the website, to include our Events calendar. Future national events where we will be speaking:

* The Williams Syndrome national conference, in Columbus, OH, July 5

* The NDSC Convention in Orlando, July 23

* The ARC of North Carolina, Raleigh, Sept. 8

If you’d like for us to speak at your conference or before your group, contact us via our website,, or e-mail me at


epdsc foto