Defining Down’s Syndrome…now that’s a hard one. Or is it?


Tom smilingThis is Tom, my son, my spectacular son. Yes, Tom has Down's Syndrome, but that's just a title… so to speak! He is soon to be 13 and blasting the stereotype of a typical child with Down's Syndrome out of the water…!

As this is Down's Awareness Week, I'm increasingly aware of the importance of educating young and old about Down's Syndrome and this year the focus is on the education of health professionals so they are better informed and therefore more able to provide suitable care for the health needs of adults with Down's Syndrome.

Tom close upThe time will come that Dan and I will no longer be here in Tom's life, we and all parents need assurance that those who SHOULD have the knowledge WILL have the knowledge.

Friday is World Down's Syndrome Awareness Day, celebrated appropriately on the 21st of March, as an extra copy of the Chromosome 21 is what Tom and all those with Down's Syndrome share. In some respects it's the very chromosome that made Tom the Tom that he is… but actually, which bits of Tom are the Down's Syndrome bits and which are just Tom?


I thought a little insight into Tom's incredibly normal life, achievements and challenges would be a lovely and rewarding blog to write for today and I am always hopeful that this may help others who are in their earlier years to realise that the journey can and will be one of joy and fun (along with the inevitable tears and difficulties) and that it may offer a chance to see that Tom is really just the same in so many ways as any other child who is heading to his teenage years.

This week I showed Maddie a link that was posted to me on Twitter, she watched, we sniffed and smiled and she said she' d like to show that link in assembly at school on Friday…I sniffed some more and scrimmaged for a tissue!

Particularly as just that weekend during a netball match a girl who was playing against Maddie's school team called her a spastic….it's horrifying to hear that words like that are still being thrown around. Let's educate please and stamp out the ignorance which continues to breed. Maddie wants to do just that by sharing that video and I hope school will find the moment for her.

Tom taking out the binsThe other afternoon we arrived home from school having endured Olly Murs (sorry Olly, but Tom's need to play your CD repeatedly on our school runs is a tad trying to say the least!) as we approached I asked Tom to pop the bins back to their usual place, unsurprisingly a tut came from behind me (a kind of Kevin style aka Harry Enfield)! 

But that said, out he jumped, impatiently waved the car on and marched up with the bins to return them to the right place. Down's Syndrome doesn't get him out of chores! "Shower and hair wash Tom!" Tom's response? (insert noise equivalent to a grunting stroppy teenager).

What is it about the hair wash?

Fast forward to an emptied water tank, the smog of Linx and scent of aftershave pervading throughout his bedroom! Tom prepares for Youth club, the outfit has to be his choice (stubborn) then off he goes to connect with his old school friends and… well, just chill (or whatever they do at youth club these days- probably best left with the chill thought!).

Tom at the ice rinkDown's Syndrome doesn't stop him socialising with his peers and caring about his appearance (typical teenager). The previous night was a skate party for Joe's school friends, Maddie was also asked.

I decided that Tom and I could go and do something else and have some special time (translated to "Don't worry Tom, I'll make it up to you that you're not invited"…). However, as I do often find happens, a text came through: "So sorry to be so late in asking! But of course Tom can join in, if he'd like?" 

Yes, he'd like it, in fact he'd love to join in… but you know I'm always grateful, no matter how late he is added to the list! Oh, and I have been known to ask occasionally (don't ask, don't get ), Tom never holds a grudge or feels unwanted… and actually he IS wanted, it just slips people's minds to ask sometimes. 

So skating for all three it was! I was proud as he manoeuvred around on his roller skates recalling how late he was to the party with walking… now look at him. Down's Syndrome doesn't stop him wanting to be with the others, nor being capable of it!

I was bursting with pride when on numerous occasions we were told he was polite and friendly at his school's Parents Evening the previous week – a pleasure to teach and achieving more than they had projected for him. Wow, music to our ears. His science teacher said: "Tom has a better grasp of science than some children in his class who don't have Down's Syndrome". Tom is such a part of his form, his school and has made some great friendships. Down's Syndrome doesn't mean mainstream schooling can't be appropriate for some. 

Tom at QVCI took Tom into QVC with me recently, he was quite at home, chatting away, greeting everyone with his outstretched hand, and the words "I'm Tom, nice to meet you!" He proudly and confidently showed off his wicked sense of humour, fantastic personality and gorgeous good looks.

He even got himself booked in for some Work Experience when the time comes! (think the cuddle he gave Tina won her over – it could win anyone over I'm telling you!). Down's Syndrome doesn't mean you can't have plans for the future. 

In fact, what DOES Down's Syndrome actually mean? How can we define it..?


I know there are some of us with such differing stories and for some, the life they lead is more challenging and very different to ours with Tom. It'd be wrong to suggest the proverbial roses are always blooming round the door. 

Yes, there are battles and emotions, fears and concerns, but when we do see those roses, we see not the thorns but the deliciously rich, velvet, heavily fragranced roses themselves… just as when I look at Tom, I see not the Down's Syndrome bit, but my beautiful blonde-haired long-limbed eldest son. I see sparkly eyes and a smile that lights up the day. I see Tom, and boy oh boy is he a sight for sore eyes!

I hope you too can see our different babies, children and adults with Down's Syndrome for who they are and not see just the title they were stamped with at birth. Let's help to make that happen! 

Tom, Joe and Maddie at Shifting Perspectives

The power of the photographic images presented by the 'Shifting Perspectives' team continues to support the work of the Down's Syndrome Association.

With my love and affection to so many of you who share my journey and understand my dreams for Tom

Claire xx

Follow me on Twitter @clairesuttonqvc


Watch the inspiring video below, dedicated to parents who have children with Down's Syndrome!


[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube's Help page]


Down's Syndrome Association – Helping people with Down's syndrome to live full and rewarding lives.


  1. Anne Michelle Thirkell March 20, 2014 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    For the first time ever, I’ve felt compelled to write something as I was so moved by your account of your life with your beautiful son Tom. In 1999 an ultrasound scan revealed that the baby I was carrying had Edward’s Syndrome aka Trisomy 18. We chose to continue with the pregnancy despite knowing that our daughter would have limited life expectancy and were so grateful to share 5 1/2 precious months with her before she passed away. My point is, that even though our darling daughter Celia wasn’t ‘perfect’ she gave us such happiness, we learned to celebrate each day with her and know that we had been blessed. Sadly her condition meant that she had to leave us, but it gladdens my heart to hear of people like yourself who have embraced life when they too have been blessed with a special child. I hope that one day all the prejudices disappear and thank you deeply for the steps that you are taking to help that day come sooner. I look at children like Tom and am so happy for them, and happy for their families too.

  2. Julie March 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    What a lovely blog as usual.Always read them but don’t always reply but really wanted to this time.
    I knew Tom had Down’s and have seen his photo many times but not once have I ever thought about him having it or seen him as different. In fact I think he’s a lovely looking boy and by the sound of it he has a lovely personality too and very loving.
    I think you should be proud of each other.
    Glad you’ve written the blog about it and hope it helps others in the same situation.
    Julie xxx

  3. linda richards March 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire,
    What a great blog. I know you are and should be so very proud of Tom. Its good to read your blogs to give us all more insight into Down’s Syndrome, with luck as time goes by we will get to understand more and treat everyone with challenges in life with the love and respect that they deserve.
    Love to you and all your family.
    Love Lyn.

  4. Lesley March 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm -  Reply

    Claire another inspiring blog and oh do I agree with you. Downs doesn’t mean Tom can’t live life to the full, go to a mainstream school and then out into the world to fulfil his (and your and Dan’s) dreams.
    I was born in 1974 with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus – I was never different to my brother, I went to a mainstream school then University. I went out with my friends and to Guides. In short I have gone on to live a full life because of the start in life laid down by my mums attitude to “disability”.
    I am now a Speech & Language Therapist and to the world I’m just Lesley so Claire it makes me so happy to hear of Tom and his life at school and with friends but most important is the foundation laid by family
    Take care
    Lesley xx

  5. Maria Royle March 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Claire, it’s inspirational and so is Tom who is clearly beautiful inside and out.
    I don’t have any experience of Downs but i hope that we’re all becoming more educated and appreciate that someone with Downs is not different but special.
    In a recent episode of ‘Call the Midwife’ it was great to see a sensitive story line being portrayed with such skill by an actress with Downs.
    Best wishes and xxx to Tom

  6. Mary March 21, 2014 at 4:12 am -  Reply

    Wow Claire…I know its only 3.51am but rain lashing down and I can’t sleep due to a nasty cold kindly given time me by one of the lovely snotty year 10 boys at school!. A fabulous blog..I remember you being pregnant with him..followed quickly by two more..and you writing about him. Please thank Tom for letting us read more about him…he sounds exactly like my soon to be 17 year old was at 13…enjoying life and grunting!! He is amazing and that is down to Tom and the dtetrmination encourgement, discipline you and Dan provide for Tom to be treated normally for want of a better word and to developed into his own person reaching goals beyond expectation. Go Tom!! The overriding factor of the love you all have as a family not just for Tom but for each other bursts from the page as does the proudness( is that a word?) that you have for All your children.
    .Tom Truly inspirational and yes, very handsome, so thank you for sharing him with us. I think Tom will be just fine. I will think of him today and the haze of aftershave and lynx!! Have a great day…have you had your birthday??? Mine is Wednesday… 48 looming!!! Love Maryxx

  7. Ann Beswick March 21, 2014 at 5:42 am -  Reply

    Beautiful x

  8. Lesley J Boath March 21, 2014 at 5:54 am -  Reply

    Dearest Claire,
    What a lovely blog for such a special day of awareness and recognition…I’m sat here at 05.45 with tears in my eyes. I still remember the first day you shared Tom with us as a new babbie.on QVC…he was a beautiful little bundle. I know life for you and Tom (and the family, mustn’t forget them) has been less than easy…but it’s also inspirational.
    Long may Tom continue to thrive.
    Much love and admiration to you and yours.
    Lesley xXx

  9. Lucia lambert March 21, 2014 at 6:20 am -  Reply

    Like you I have a teenage girl with Down’s syndrome who also has brought lots of love to the family and joy. She is loving being a teenager at the moment and don’t we know it she like my son makes teenage grunts, plays her music extra loud one direction of course , she is convinced she will marry Harry styles she also loves to dress like a teenager high wedges are already being worn,! Like you I wish everyone was more aware but I must admit when she was born I did not know anything about Down’s syndrome I had all these questions would she be able to walk, talk etc and 16 years later I can definitely says she does I just wish I knew that on the day she was born. Lovely to read your blog.

  10. valeri southion March 21, 2014 at 6:38 am -  Reply

    HI Claire wot a wonderful blog about your lovely boy Tom. The video link may I add was beautiful and I smiled the whole way through with a tear or two appearing through smiling eyes.

  11. Michelle March 21, 2014 at 6:57 am -  Reply

    Or my goodness Claire you are so bubbly fun happy I could go on and on and your son must take after you and a wonderful loving husband , I bet you other children just see him as one of them , my friend had a downs baby at 16 she’s 35 now and also another 2 like your self she says she woulndnt swap him for the world and to be honest he’s better behaved the the others on day. I don’t see any different and if other children want to make fun and make snide comment that up to them ,it’s just a shame they all can’t inter grade together at school and after school freind .claire he is dressed so cool his glasses and his fly away hair what a schmozer for the girl I bet he likes , god love him and your other 2 , one last thing when I was in placing this is going back 15 years or so I was on house placement for the hollidys and I looked after a little girl of 9 and her 2 other siblings who were slow learning WHAT a laugh we had every day ,I loved it .you wouldn’t believe it her fav food and I mean nothing else haha you had to put beef hola hoops on each of her finger poor brown sauce on her plate and dunk she went then another round hehe I loved it , funny I still get days when I smell that combo. And yes I would say they are a little to much at times but it’s people like you who just take in there stride why because he’s your little man. God bless you and your family your a beautiful and caring lady mwah mwah xxxx those are for Tom xxxxxx

  12. JACKIE March 21, 2014 at 7:12 am -  Reply

    WOW what a lovely blog Claire I am Sat here still wiping tears away TOM is a handsome young man you must be very proud of him and his siblings you always inspire me Claire YOU can tell by THE way you write about your family that although there are challenges there are also lot’s of rewards too LOTS OF LOVE JACKIE X X X

  13. Maureen Meredith March 21, 2014 at 7:21 am -  Reply

    A special family indeed. Everyone needs sparkle in their lives, you have your Tom. The video is just beautiful, everyone should watch this. It brought tears to my eyes. Carry on all the wonderful work you do, you are to be admired. Tom will grow into a lovely young man with all the love that surrounds him. Love to all.xxxxxxxxxx

  14. Gwen Tugwell March 21, 2014 at 8:10 am -  Reply

    Hello you very Gorgeous Girl,
    I have just read your latest wonderful blog telling us all about your spectacularly high achieving and very lovable Son and have to admit to being reduced to tears yet again as I very often am when reading your blogs, I really feel that I have made a friend in you and I want to congratulate you and your lovely Dan on being such lovely parents to all three of your children, and I am
    absolutely certain that Tom was sent to you all for a very special reason, and I am sure that your blog will make all those who have the honour of being able to resd it more aware.
    Lots of love,

  15. Roni March 21, 2014 at 8:22 am -  Reply

    What a wonderful blog, it brought tears to my eyes, you are all so very lucky to love and support each other the way you do.
    I still cannot believe that people can use such dreadful names to each other, hopefully with raised awareness and more understanding people will start to care for each other instead of wanting to hurt.
    I never had children of my own but have 2 lovely step children and their kids and share many joyous times together, life really is a gift.
    Well done Claire for sharing your experiences it cant always be easy, much love to you all :)

  16. Debbie March 21, 2014 at 8:34 am -  Reply

    Absouloutly beautiful blog Claire And beautiful inspiring wonderful Tom thank you Claire .

  17. Jackie nixon March 21, 2014 at 8:53 am -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    A tear in my eye – what an uplifting video. You must be very proud parents but equally very wonderful parents. Wishing Tom and your family a wonderful future.
    Jackie x

  18. bev March 21, 2014 at 9:08 am -  Reply

    That was so beautiful.All I can say…tears in my eyes.Tom is fortunate to have such a lovely mum as

  19. Christine Fryer March 21, 2014 at 9:19 am -  Reply

    Ahh claire you should be so proud of your son as i know you are he is so lucky to have really good parents like you and ithought the video was wonderfullots of love to all your family from chrissie xxx

  20. Anne Hainsworth March 21, 2014 at 9:32 am -  Reply

    I have just read about your “Tom”, He looks a smashing young man, a friend of mine has a young son with downs he is just a toddler but is such a brill kid, he is learning to sign, as he hasn’t learnt to speak yet, I’m an adult and I find signing problematic yet he just seems to pick it up, his smile says everything. All my love to you and your young man. Anne

  21. jilly m March 21, 2014 at 9:36 am -  Reply

    Dearest Claire
    Thank you to you today for raising awareness of Downs, I have no experience of the condition and so found this informative blog very interesting.
    Love, love the socks and shoes this morning on QVC!! Greta fun and has the desired effect.
    Your son is Special, but so are your other children, I’m a mum and we all need to be more inclusive of people whether differently able or not, male, female, thank you for being a great presenter and informative ambassador for the condition.
    Let’s all hope that- by the time Tom is 21, people will be more informed and aware…Let’s hope!!

  22. Una March 21, 2014 at 9:43 am -  Reply

    Thank you Claire, and Tom, thank you too young man, for sharing with us..
    You are so lucky Claire, to have a lovely family, Tom, as you say, is very handsome.
    I remember the teenage strops, the tutting, huffing, slamming doors! Ahhh, these were the days lol!!
    Such a beautiful video, puts so many things into perspective.
    Wishing you much love, especially to your handsome young man
    Una xx

  23. Adele March 21, 2014 at 10:15 am -  Reply

    Beautiful blog Claire. You have 3 wonderful children x

  24. Janet Johnson March 21, 2014 at 10:28 am -  Reply

    Oh Claire …I was moved to tears by your blog about Tom, my mum was a patron of Mencap as it was known in the last millennium!!! I used to go on outings and to parties with her, the children and adults were so warm and generous with their feelings, and I loved every minute of it.I had hoped that public response to children like your handsome,wonderful son had changed and it saddens me that there is still such ignorant people in the world.I can tell you are so proud of Tom and his achievements…….and rightly so.
    Janet x

  25. Jenny March 21, 2014 at 11:08 am -  Reply

    Hi claire
    Your blog made me smile, I have a twin sister who has downs syndrome and to me she is my sis, and as a youngster I found my self standing up for her all the time, other kids can be cruel and at that time ‘Special schools’ were very seperate to main stream education. I think it is a good thing that kids are integrated together now, they all benfit from it!

  26. Claire sutton March 21, 2014 at 11:43 am -  Reply

    I just wanted to speedily write a few words of immense thanks…you really amaze and inspire me with all your warm and special comments to me, to Tom and to Dan, Joe and Maddie..
    To those of you who chat with me I massively appreciate that you bother and that on a special day for us you have bothered, yet again to support us.
    To those of you who have responded to my blog today I am honoured and will share all your words with my family and friends.
    I’m in my dressing room mid shows, sporting my mad socks and heels combination and thrilled that Awareness is out there…I’m also re-touching my make up after all your wonderous words…
    I’ll speak with you all super soon..I think a nice cup of Tea is in order !!!
    Claire xxxxxxxx

  27. helen s March 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    Nobody is perfect. Nobody has the right to judge anyone else! But they do. I have M.E. I have lost friends as they don’t understand why I cant always stick to arrangements or plan in advance. I look the same as everyone else, but I am not. Your son is a credit to you and Dan. Downs Syndrome – SO WHAT???? Good on your son for being just him.
    Love Helen xxxx

  28. karen jones March 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm -  Reply

    HiClaire, have’nt responded before- my eldest grandson Freddie is austic “thats his title” – but to us he is a wonderful 6 year old, ,my daughter used to cry when Freddie could’nt do the things that other children could do – now she crys with pride when he comes 1st in spelling and maths,and just recently managed to ride his bike without falling off, my daughter was asked the other day if you could change any one thing with Freddie what would it be,she replied my son to me is perfect with or without his autism he is still Freddie.

  29. Amanda Madigan March 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm -  Reply

    What a lovely read. Very inspiring and insightful. Thanks for sharing. Tom sounds like one amazing lad :-)

  30. Karen March 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for this amazing post in your blog. You are truly an inspiration. Tom is a very lucky boy to have you as his mum.

  31. Deborah Daniels March 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire…what a lovely blog…your a wonderful mother and have beautiful children who will grow into wonderful adults…watched the video made me cry and set a shiver down my spine xx

  32. Susan Goldsworthy March 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm -  Reply

    Your lovely son and how wonderful he is made me have a few tears, Hes a credit too you and your husband but I guess you already know that. God bless you Tom and the rest of your wonderful family, Thanks for sharing,xxxxxxx

  33. Lorna Reynolds March 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire,
    My first thought on reading your blog was how lucky you are to have your lovely boy.You see, I lost my beautiful daughter three years ago yesterday to cystic fibrosis.She was just 21 and was my world.I would do anything just to give her a hug,so you see you really are very lucky.
    God Bless you Claire and your very special family,

  34. Christel Osmann March 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm -  Reply

    What a wonderful blog…thank you so much for sharing Claire.Love and very best wishes to you all.xx

  35. Tammy dawson March 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire I’ve just read your blog and I agree with you totally I have a son with autism and know the struggles we as parents and the children but just like you I wouldn’t change Callum for the world he gives me and his dad so much joy we have fun and holidays and family days out just like everyone else so thank you for writing your blog and introducing tom all my love to you and your family xx

  36. Diane March 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Caire, this is Diane from “Holland” it’s been a while since I have written to you although I read your blog whenever I can.
    It is so important that us parents of Down’s children show others that although it can be a very different path we tread, these stunning individuals have so much to offer, indeed the world would be a much better place if more people shared their attributes.
    Our lovely Daughter is struggling a little with her ongoing heart condition, but she recieves good care, she is so loved & she loves in return.
    I must say a Big thank you for sharing your experience, it really does mean a great deal to Parents in common and to raise awareness for people who would like to know more.
    My very best wishes to you Tom & all your family.

  37. S-J March 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire, thank you for sharing your family with us all.
    Your blog was lovely as was the youtube video you shared. I share with you the importance of training our health professionals to support and respect everyone. I work with physiotherapy students and you will be pleased to hear we recently had a module that focussed for a week on learning about people with learning disabilities. I have shared this video with them.
    wishing you and yours every happiness.

  38. Tracey Saltsman March 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm -  Reply

    OMG that video was so moving, I think it says it all, we seem to focus on what children with disabilities can’t do and we should focus on what they can do. Its hard to turn this around but I think it would do us all good to try. Thank you for making me aware of this, i will really try and change the way I think. xx

  39. Denise Connon March 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Clare, thank you so much for sharing your son Tom with us, he looks a very lovely young man. xx

  40. Sue Stockton March 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, just read your beautiful blog and had a tear while enjoying it.You are blessed to have three wonderful children who I am sure are all
    different snd fabulous in there own way.Tom sounds like any teenage boy/girl,the Kevin effect gets to them all.
    Much love to you and your family
    Sue Stockton xxxxx

  41. Sharon English March 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    I love reading your blogs but this one in particular moved me. I have a nephew, Frankie, who is 4 and has autism. He is a little ray of sunshine in our lives and is such a happy child. Although he has high fences to climb over both now and in the future, I am sure that he will soar high above them. I think it is so important to raise awareness of these “special” people in our lives. To me, Frankie is one of God’s Angels sent here to guide us as I am sure your Tom is also.

  42. mrs v March 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    Much love to you and your lovely family. I am the mother of an autistic child and your blogs always make things feel easier for me. Thank you, Claire . V xxx

  43. beverley young March 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm -  Reply

    Oh Claire,
    He is a beautiful,beautiful boy xxx
    Very moving .Tom is truly wonderful! Xxx

  44. Zoe March 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm -  Reply

    Lovely blog. I love to hear about Tom as my eldest boy, who is 7, has Down’s Syndrome too. He also has a younger brother and sister all born within 4 years- so our family dynamics must be similar! Thanks for giving us an insight into the future and sharing your experience in your usual happy and positive way. Keep the updates coming!!!

  45. Louise March 21, 2014 at 6:35 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire.
    March 26 is Purple Day, the international day for epilepsy awareness. I did mention when I wrote on oone of your previous blogs, that I have been epileptic since birth. I loathe to call it a disability, because it is only that if one allows it to be. I believe that, because I have never had a life without epilepsy, it is part of me, and what forms my personality. I feel the same applies to Tom : Downs is part of him and, who is to say that, without it he would be any different? In my opinion, not being downs, or myself not being epileptic, would certainly not make us better individuals; different, perhaps.
    I also believe that the way in which we approach the challenge of such a devastatingly unwelcome ‘illness’, is character building, and allows our true inner self to come to the fore.
    It is such an opportune moment to mention this, with Mothering Sunday on 31st; my mum worries more about me, and always has, than I do, and I can guarantee you are the same.
    I know you say he is doing well at school but, just out of curiosity, has he had any problems with other children, because he is downs? Throughout my school life, not once was I treated any differently because of the epilepsy, by children or teachers. Everyone was aware of my condition and, I assume, just accepted it, and me for who I was.
    Well, Claire, obviously Tom has my best wishes and, although I don’t know him, it does appear that a productive future beckons for him. You have a wonderful 31st – not birthday, that’s long gone (for us both). Sorry, just joshing! – I’m sure you will be spoiled rotten.
    Take care, Claire. Loved the socks!

  46. Sandra Holmes March 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire,
    What a wonderful blog about your beautiful son, it so good to know that he is doing well at school and yes he is also a “boy teenager” as well (have all boys myself).
    I wish him well for his future.

  47. Jen March 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, I have a son with severe and enduring mental health, is very sad and have lost the battle, I now work with kids with complex needs and they are lovely but have always found people with Downs are happy, well balanced and without any of the nonsense we all carry round with us. Love to you, your family and your lovely lad, what a happy asset he may be always, he will always be full of love and appreciation of his parents and family – Jen x x x

  48. Louise March 21, 2014 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi again Claire.
    Just an amendment – of course, Mothering Sunday is 30 March!

  49. cath lancaster March 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    A wonderful story Claire and your son looks wonderful cath x

  50. Anne-Marie Mason March 21, 2014 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    Lovely, heartfelt blog. He’s a lovely lad and when he’s older he’ll be proud to have a mum like you! x

  51. Lesley Campbell March 21, 2014 at 11:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    What a truly inspiring young man you have in Tom. You and Dan must be so proud. You are a beautiful lady and a wonderful mum. Keep up the good work.
    Love Lesley xx

  52. Mel Hayward March 21, 2014 at 11:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    What a beautiful blog. You are such a cheery person yourself and you obviously have a lot of admiration and love for your lovely young man. There is nothing Tom will not achieve with such a wonderful family behind him. I am so glad I logged in tonight and read your blog. xxx

  53. mrslizprice March 22, 2014 at 12:09 am -  Reply

    Hello Claire I have just read your blog about your beautiful son tom how moving and inspiringpiece of writing I myself am very physically disabled confined too a wheelchaif but remarried the week before cChristmas2013 but i am blessed with 2 wonderful sons 25 and 223 years old and a much loved 5 year old little grandson so yourself and Dan be so rightly off tom as he continues too achieve everything he is capable of God bless Claire lots of love MrslLiz price

  54. Tina Dunning March 22, 2014 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    What a lovely blog. Tom seems to be such a lovely young man and a great credit to you. My son of 33years was damaged by an illness at 14months and has multiple injuries such as profound deafness, difficulties with being understood (he speaks very well but people just don’t understand him), he is on the autistic spectrum and has problems with his muscles. Having said all that he is just James and he sees himself as just the same as you or me. He has always been a joy and families without these special people are missing out. I would like to wish you and your wonderful family every good wish for now and the future. X

  55. Evelyn redman March 22, 2014 at 11:00 am -  Reply

    Just lovely Claire x. Watched the video too and boy did I need tissues x x x

  56. Stephanie Dumbrill March 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

    Well Claire as I was fortunate enough to know of Toms arrival when it happened (a day before my daughters 21st birthday party )in May 2001 I have listened to his progress from proud Granny. Its obvious how much pride comes from his family with how well he is doing, your blog will certainly help others in the same situation to see all the positives that outweigh the negatives in having a downs child. I have been lucky enough to meet Tom and he is a lovely young man…Happy 13th Birthday when it arrives Tom The Teenager !!!!!! xxx

  57. Colin Cowie March 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm -  Reply

    Lovely blog, my daughter has downs, and is quite more profoundly affected mentally, but I never think of her as defined by her condition, she is just….Freya. There is no way anyone could convince me that her life is not meaningful and wonderful, and that she would be better if she were to be “cured”. My daughter means everything to me. Someday I will have to leave her to the care of others, she is unlikely to be as capable as it looks like your son will be. My son will do his part, he is wonderful with her! But ultimately my daughter will someday be reliant on our welfare system to take care of her when I am gone, and I am quite happy about that. Her school is fantastic, with facilities for students to attend further education on site till the age of 25! The wider area has warden supervised independent living facilities, I am happy that she can get all the support she will need. We are lucky to live in this country, having a downs child in another country could be much much more difficult.

  58. Karin March 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    Your blog is so positive and so lovely to read. The video made me cry. My best friend’s son has downs syndrome and I have seen the joy and love he has brought in to her life. He has also taught me so much. Tom will be doing the same for all of those he shares his life with. May his confidence continue to grow and his future be a truly happy one
    Karin x

  59. Pat new March 24, 2014 at 11:33 am -  Reply

    Claire you must be so so proud of your gorgeous son Tom .What a brilliant blog.xx

  60. Sylvia March 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    We haven’t spoke for a while but I had to write to you after reading this lovely blog. You know I have been a qvc devotee since the beginning and I remember when you started and I have always liked you as a person—-so chatty, immaculately dressed always and you make me laugh.
    Anyway I remember when Tom was born and I knew then you had been chosen to be his mummy because you seem to be an extra special lady and he has grown up to be a lovely young man.
    You and Dan should be very proud as I’m sure you are.
    Hope all your family are well Claire. Regards Sylvia x

  61. Doe Brown March 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm -  Reply

    Beautiful Blog, beautiful Tom, beautiful family, bless you all, XXXXXX

  62. Christine kings March 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Claire wonderful blog !! So lovely to know how Tom is getting on my eldest grandson is 21 years old and a wonderful young man he had many health problems when young but doing well now he’s the second eldest grandchild of four and is no different than our other grandchildren just as much loved and cherished we always said these special children Come for a reason and we are so blessed he came to our family . Best wishes Claire to you Dan. And your two other lovely children God Bless xxx

  63. Steven March 26, 2014 at 7:11 pm -  Reply

    Hope you had a lovely day yesterday Claire xx

  64. Sara A March 28, 2014 at 7:42 am -  Reply

    A happy but tear inducing account of your beautiful son, thank you for sharing it With us. How sad that so many barriers and misunderstandings still exist in society. Take care of your amazing family xxx

  65. Jennifer Wilson March 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire I have never done anything like this before but reading your blog, which made me feel very emotional I felt I must write and add my comments. You are truly a wonderful young lady and your family are very lucky to have you as their mum. I am a grandma and have a young grandson who has asperger syndrome. My daughter too is a wonderful young women who was a deputy head and had given over twenty years of her life to teaching children. She is very disappointed with the prejudice she sees on a daily basis for all children who are challenged in many ways. My Josh is home schooled with some lessons at a private school and is a very beautiful child who deeply cares for animals and others in society who are dealing with prejudice and unhelpful behaviour and words from people who should know better. The more mothers show off their children and fully support them the more change will take place. Think of the Paralympics and how long before barriers were broken down. Keep doing as you are doing I salute all who are, as you and many others, working towards a time when awareness is more openly acknowledged by society, medical, educational and governmental bodies. Keep strong. Many best wishes to you, your Tom and the rest of your family.

  66. Pseu Donym April 1, 2014 at 10:56 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire!
    Apologies for my late reply to your amazing post.
    It really is interesting and heartwarming to hear how Tom is getting on. What an inspiration he is to us all! It is delightful that he is getting the glad rags on and getting out there to socialise with all his friends.
    You are doing a grand job raising awareness and fighting the sterotypes which have grown in the media and in the school playground. It is refreshing to hear you focusing on all the positive aspects, while accepting that there are challenges to face. I’m sure that Tom’s top marks at school and outgoing personality are due in no small part to all the help, support and encouragement from you and the rest of the family.
    I can’t wait for the next update!
    Love, K.

  67. Rosemary Thompson April 2, 2014 at 9:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, Have just got home from work and looking through the presenter blogs read yours which I always do. I wonder if you realise what a talent you have for writing with such feeling and honesty. From all the comments made I know that I am not the only one that thinks this. Tom is very lucky to have a family and a Mum that does not look on him any differently than your other two and the fact that you are so inclusive and do not allow others to treat him differently is probably why he has and no doubt will continue to achieve more than others expect of him. I looked at the video. Eye make up is now smudged and tissues are wet. At the end of the day, love can achieve anything. It is such a shame that there are so many children that do not get the love and support you obviously give Tom along with Dan and your other children.Probably now is not the right time in your life, but you really should think about writing a book about Tom and your life with him growing up. I am sure it would inspire many new Mums and Dads who still have to face the challenges you have all done and give them an insight into what can be achieved by never giving up and conforming to other people judgements. Thank you once again for sharing this part of your life. Keep smiling like you always do and continue to write your lovely blogs. Rosie

  68. Kal Pascoe April 9, 2014 at 7:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    This made me laugh, smile, and cry, and the video had me in bits.
    Thank you for this little bit of history, and for educating me just a little bit more than I was 10 mins ago!!
    Really enjoyed reading and watching this and thank you immensely for giving me something else to think about other than my own little bubble
    Take care and love you you all xx

  69. Brigid Smith April 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire.
    What a beautiful boy you must be so proud of him and his achievements. But with such a lovely Mum and family it is no surprise. Sending you lots of love xx

  70. Bonita McQuire April 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire,
    What a wonderfully beautiful account of your handsome boy.

  71. Marianne July 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire,
    Thank you so much for telling us your story and sharing Tom with us.
    I can’t believe Tom is now 13! I remember all those years ago when you had him. I didn’t realise you now had three children,thought it was two so missed a pregnancy along the way.
    You must be very proud of all your family.
    I support the Downs Association and think the work they and others do is so important. Good Luck to you all and keep posting as I shall make a point of logging into qvc community now more than I was. M x

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