Since the birth of her son, Steven, Clare Anderson has had to immerse herself in what it means to parent a special needs child. For that, she is grateful for the support of the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville and ABLE United.
At 4 years old, Steven, has developed a long list of favorite things: blowing bubbles, dancing, his Mommy and Me music class, going to Jacksonville Jaguars games, and playing his ukulele. To say that he is thriving would be an understatement.
When Steven was born, he needed immediate surgery for a stomach condition. And while his health has been clear since, his parents have had to immerse themselves in what it means to parent a special needs child. For that, they are grateful for the support of the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville.
“The Navy brought us here eight or nine years ago. We didn’t know why we were put here at the time, but looking back we know we were put here for Steven,” Clare said. “Especially with the passing of ABLE United.”
The Andersons first heard about ABLE United from the Down Syndrome Association when Steven was a baby, before the new program had begun. As soon as the accounts became reality, they signed up.
The Andersons continue to add money to the account — their own, and Steven’s birthday money. The account grows tax-free with no signup cost or monthly maintenance fee. Clare simply calls the account “a relief.” It’s something that makes it easier to enjoy the present with her little boy, even as she dreams about his future.
“I would say my dreams are just like any other mother’s,” she said. “I would like him to grow up and be happy. I would like to see him living on his own — even if I don’t want to admit that right now. Have a job. Live in his own way. Even if it’s just with his little ukulele.”