Dr Oz: Father Learning From Daughter With Down Syndrome
Dr Oz shared that parenting can be one of life’s great adventures, but we can all learn from each other. He wanted to talk to one parent in particular because his story of how he raised his daughter and what he learned from it was truly inspiring. Jillian Daugherty was born with down syndrome, which shocked her parents, Kerry and Paul.
Paul shared that they had no idea Jillian had down syndrome, so the first day they experienced a lot of fear and anger. They quickly turned that fear and anger into determination, wanting to give Jillian the most normal life possible. Jillian’s parents followed the mantra “expect, don’t accept,” which to them meant that they expected the public to view Jillian the same as it would a typical child.
They fought with the school system on occasion in order to enroll her in regular school. Jillian spent her childhood taking regular classes, playing softball, and doing other everyday activities.
Dr Oz: Life Accomplishments With Down Syndrome
Paul shared that Jillian struggled pretty bad with spelling, so they worked on it constantly. Jillian eventually graduated high school and college at Northern Kentucky University. She also got a job in NKU’s athletic department. Paul said Jillian is that happiest, most fulfilled person he knows. Paul was excited to share what he’s learned from Jillian.
He joined Dr Oz, and explained that he wanted Jillian to define Jillian, which meant that he wanted her to fail so that she could learn. He said he didn’t want his daughter tethered to the perceptions of other people.
Dr Oz: Lessons Learned From Children
Paul also shared that you have to actually see your kids, which requires engagement and empathy. He said looking is passive, and to fully appreciate something you have to see them for who they really are. Paul said people should know that life is as wonderful as you’re willing to make it, but you have to allow it to be. He said we’re only as good as we treat each other. He said everyone has something to contribute, and on that note, Dr Oz welcomed Jillian to the show.
Jillian shared that her father taught her how to be a lady, how to ride a bike, and taught her not to be nervous. She said she saw the video that Dr Oz put together and made her feel both happy and sad. As for what’s next, Jillian is planning on getting married to her fiance, who she’s been dating for ten years. She shared that she asked her parents if they were ready to give her away, and they said they were.
Paul Daugherty is the author of An Uncomplicated Life.