Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin raises hope for parents of disabled kids

Monday, September 08, 2008
Palin raises hope for parents of disabled kids


Polishing off his strawberry-banana yogurt, Jacob Moore races to his keyboard with a whoop, picks his way through "Pop Goes the Weasel" and gives his mom a high five. This is the average stuff of childhood, and it has not come easily to the 8-year-old with Down syndrome.

For his mother, Heidi Moore, achieving average "is like climbing Mount Everest." The family has been clambering up with the help of therapists, 15 surgeries, prayer and a tight-knit community of parents whose children live with the disorder.

That network is abuzz with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's arrival on the national scene as Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate. A little more than four months ago, Palin, 44, gave birth to a son, Trig, with the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

Palin hoisted the sleepy-looking infant into her arms after delivering the biggest speech of her career before cheering delegates at the Republican convention and a television audience of 40 million.

In her address, she had a special message for families with special-needs children: "I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."

It was an electrifying moment for those parents and their advocates.

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