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  • Writer's pictureJadene Sloan Ransdell

01 Turning 40

Jadene Sloan Ransdell

Originally published September 22, 2014

I share my life with a son who has Down syndrome. His life has been filled with twists and turns that have helped to make me the person I am today. We've been through a lot - Matt and I- from the time we received his diagnosis and he was compared to a puppy, to residential placement in Germany while my husband served in the U.S. Army, and now that he has turned 40.

When Matt was a teen he had a seizure in the shower. It was devastating, but medication kept the seizures in check. Over the years Matt has used words to speak and then stopped, spoken and stopped many times. He has also used signs, although they might not be recognizable to someone who uses American Sign Language. And for a period, he successfully used an iPod with communication software loaded on it.


Although, Matt was never officially diagnosed when he was a child, he displays many characteristics of Autism. In the past few years he has been given additional diagnoses that include Tourette’s syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, along with anxiety disorders. With each new diagnosis came medication to help him deal with the symptoms.


About a year ago Matt's neurologist gave him yet another diagnosis...early dementia. We couldn't understand how he came up with that and just went about life as usual.


Matt's life turned upside down earlier this summer when he was exhibiting many symptoms of early aging that are being identified more often in people with Down syndrome. The challenges of raising a child with special needs have followed us into adulthood. We may be in for a bumpy ride as Matt travels "Over the Hill," and for this reason I decided to start this blog. I hope you will join me on our journey.

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