But “these children are not suffering,” says Stacy Calcano, an Inwood mother of four including a boy with DS. “I have yet to see or meet a person with Down syndrome that I would categorize as suffering.”

When Calcano learned of her son Carter’s condition when she was pregnant with him, she at first couldn’t speak and had to ask her ob-gyn to call back. Doctors and nurses repeatedly told her, “We have to expedite these results because you only have three weeks.”

Three weeks for what? Calcano and her husband wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy. “The diagnosis didn’t change the fact that he was my son,” she says. “I’m a believer in choice. But I had children and I became a parent because I wanted to be a parent. Not because I had preconceived ideas of what my children would accomplish. Anytime you have a child you don’t know what you’re going to end up with.”

A DS child is not “an empty vessel,” she says. “We now know that these kids can do anything that typically developing kids can do. It just takes a little more work on the front end.”

In a survey published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 99% of DS people said they were generally happy.