Celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month: King Ben

Ben isn’t your average 18-year-old at Smoky Hill High School. As a member of the men’s chorus, a teammate on the basketball team and a track and field participant – he has no intention to just “get by.” Instead, he has joined in on all the fun high school has to offer and has made countless friends along the way.

Whether he’s dancing to the Mamma Mia soundtrack or making his fellow yearbook committee laugh, Ben’s personality lights up the room. His charm and enthusiasm to participate was recognized by his teachers and classmates when Ben was nominated for homecoming king at his high school and went on to win more than 80 percent of the votes.

Being crowned a king hasn’t made Ben shy to the limelight. Between the “King Ben” chants, homecoming parade and constant high fives, Ben’s happiness and excitement can be seen in his glowing smile.

Sue, Ben’s mom, couldn’t be prouder of his recent accomplishment. “When you have a child with Down syndrome attend a typical high school, you never know what to expect from the other kids,” said Sue. “We’re fortunate that Ben has received nothing but acceptance and the opportunity to create friendships, participate in activities he’s passionate about and be seen for his abilities.”

His family and friends aren’t the only ones who enjoy getting to spend time with Ben. His MGA Home Healthcare team can’t say enough about this young man. “To know Ben and then see his high school not only learn from him, but appreciate him, has been incredible,” said Megan Merrick, MGA Home Healthcare CNA Clinical Supervisor.

His MGA Home Healthcare clinical team strives to share how Ben brings something special to the table. “He is a joy to work with and though his forms of communication are much different than mine and most of those around him, we are still able to connect and learn from Ben,” said Jill Jones, MGA Home Healthcare Clinical Case Manager.

Beyond providing exceptional care, MGA Home Healthcare focuses on creating trusted relationships with each member of the patient’s family. Our clinicians make sure moms like Sue feel respected, appreciated and understood. Sue hopes her experience can provide advice and insight to other families. As a parent of both typical children and a child with special needs, Sue learned that a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting doesn’t exist.

Sue’s biggest piece of advice: trust your instinct. “Mothers of special needs children are often given countless words of advice,” said Sue. “You have to rely on what you know to be best for your child and often times what works for one child doesn’t work for another. Being Ben’s mom has been an amazing experience that has taught me more about myself and given me the opportunity to learn, grow and appreciate all that life has to offer.”

Interested in learning more about Down Syndrome Awareness Month? Find upcoming events, blogs, videos and news from the National Association for Down Syndrome.