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The Hood Magazine

A Little Extra Chromosome Brings A Lot of Joy

Sep 28, 2021 ● By By: Michelle Baartman

By: Michelle Baartman 

Our lives and hearts were forever changed on February 4, 2020. Our son Levi AJ Baartman came into this world with a little extra in him. An extra 21st chromosome. Most of us have two but there are those lucky few that are blessed with a third 21st chromosome. Those with this extra chromosome are diagnosed as having Trisomy 21 or what we know as Down Syndrome.  

Levi has so much extra in him, more than just that extra chromosome. He, like so many others with down syndrome, has extra love, joy, happiness, and laughter. He has brought extra to our family in so many ways. Since his birth, he has taught us to always show kindness to anyone and everyone. People are what he loves most. He doesn’t care where he is or who you are, he will always smile and wave to you.  

Our family of four live in Tea, SD. Prior to finding out Levi had down syndrome, I’m sad to say our family didn’t know much about down syndrome. It’s not all rainbows and glitter but we would not change Levi having down syndrome for anything. Our daughter, JosieAnn, loves to help with his therapies. She works hard at encouraging him to do things and modeling how it is done, like rolling, crawling, sitting, and talking. She is a proud big sister and a great advocate for those with down syndrome. Adam and I are learning what it is to be parents of a child with special needs. Levi has brought a strength to our family like no other. There is a sense of determination in him to learn and take on life. And to take on life with joy, love, and happiness always.  

October is down syndrome awareness month. As a family we hope to teach that stereotyping down syndrome as a bad thing is not true. In reality, having someone in your life with a little extra is amazing.  

Here are two great resources for families and those wanting to become more educated: and