INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Every year, nearly 6,000 children are born with Down syndrome.
According to the CDC, it's the most common chromosomal disorder.
For that reason, one local education center hopes to change the way the world views those with Down syndrome.
Gigi's Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center, has 38 locations across the U.S. They opened here in Indianapolis several years ago. The first child through the door was a little girl named Jaida.
She was brought there by Deidra Robinson.
"She loves this place," says Robinson. "It’s like home away from home for her."
Robinson met Jaida close to 5 years ago, before her second birthday.
"They told us she couldn’t walk, that she couldn’t talk, that she wouldn’t eat by herself, she wouldn’t be able to do anything. She would probably just be in life skills and not really be able to do anything on her own."
Jaida's birth parents were homeless. They were living in cars and in and out of shelters. A concerned family member began bringing Jaida to the Robinson's home childcare business called GLOW.
"Weeks, months passed by then we were very involved in Jaida’s upbringing . We were getting her involved in first steps, we were getting her involved in ballet, gymnastics, other things to help her develop cognitive skills and physical therapy."
They asked her parents if they could care for Jaida until their situation became stable. After months, things remained the same.
Meanwhile, GLOW became like a home for the child, and the Robinsons became like family.
"We loved her. We didn’t want to give her back by then."
They began working to adopt her, and watched her grow along the way.
"Going from not speaking to signing, to gibberish, to having full conversations. Now we can’t make her stop talking she just keeps talking forever," says Robinson. "Every day is something new, and we’re just along for the ride.”
Jaida was honored at Gigi's Playhouse's 3.21 Mile Run/Walk on Saturday. She was also crowned 2018 Little Miss Indiana Black Expo.
"She does anything and everything that she wants to do, and we encourage it," says Robinson. "I think sometimes as parents we hold our kids back because of things we think they can’t do instead of letting them shine with what they can do."
Jaida's adoption went through this summer. She is now officially a Robinson.
She still requires some extra educational resources, but she is in regular second grade, gymnastics and ballet classes.