Jane Thurston writes monthly about what she has learned from raising a son with Down syndrome. Without presuming to know what anyone else’s experience is or should be in connection to this disability, her articles simply share how Down syndrome has affected her everyday family life and how she often sees God’s hand in it. Her articles inspire and uplift us as they look into the impact on siblings, reflect on thoughts and reactions of those outside her family, and help us all discover how to find courage and happiness in whatever our world has to offer us.
Though she hasn’t lived there in 25 years, Jane was raised in Utah and has been active in the LDS church all her life. She has been married more than 25 years and has three children. After earning a master’s degree in Clothing and Textiles she has taught Fashion Merchandising, Sewing, and Family Studies at the university level for going on 30 years.
Jane has described her perspective on parenting her handicapped son in the following way:
“When my Down syndrome son makes that contented sigh as I embrace him, I don’t always know just what I’ve done that he’s comfortable with at that moment but I get the sense every time that it’s my job to make him comfortable in this world, that in a previous sphere he has earned my respect, and in a sphere to come I will see him as he truly is. I feel purpose and direction that comes literally from a higher power and that we are working in concert on this project that is the life experience of my son. I know in those moments that there is someone on the other side who wants success and peace for this child as much as I do.”
And while raising this son does have unique challenges, parenting all three of her children has taught her to rely on help through prayer so that “I am not always dependent on just my own intelligence . . . and neither is my child.”