Connor pauses briefly, for a snapshot with mom, Savannah, and dad, Jeffery.
Photo of Connor to be featured in New York City's Times Square on September 9.
Each year, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) hosts a Buddy Walk event to raise awareness of the contributions made by individuals with Down Syndrome. New York City serves as the flagship location for the walk. This year's event will kick-off on September 9 in Times Square with a video spotlight featuring photos of individuals with Down syndrome from all across the United States, including 13-year-old Connor, who will represent Arizona.
Connor, who receives services from the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and will be among 500 individuals chosen to appear on the Times Square jumbotron video presentation that will broadcast nationally on Facebook Live. For his 13th birthday, Connor's parents, Jeffery and Savannah, arranged for a professional photographer to commemorate the milestone. In one of the photos, Connor holds up his hands and, using sign language, says, "I love you." This is the photo that the NDSS selected for their special video.
Connor earned 100% on his latest spelling test.
"Sign language is a big part of the Down syndrome community when they're little," said Savannah. "I think that is a big reason why he got picked – because he was signing ‘I love you' in the picture."
Connor's grandmother, Regina noted, "I'm sure they have somebody with a photogenic eye that's picking these photos. [The photos] were so good, they just grabbed his personality."
Connor lives in Mesa and is an 8th grader at Greenfield Junior High in Gilbert where his favorite subjects are math and lunch. This school year, Connor joined the school band through United Sound, where each chapter is overseen by both a music teacher and a special education teacher, who work together with peer musicians to serve as mentors to special-needs student musicians to become part of the school's band or orchestra. Connor's instrument of choice is the euphonium or baritone.
Now a member of his junior high school band, Connor selected the euphonium as the instrument he wants to learn to play.
In addition to his school activities, Connor also enjoys reading and swimming. At home, he likes to play games on his iPad, watch cartoons, and sing. He also collects figurines and has a total of 45 action figures.
Connor has been a member of DDD since infancy, where he receives speech and occupational therapies, as well as respite services. Regina also provides him with habilitation services, three times a week.
Be sure to look for this charismatic and capable young man among the Down syndrome icons whose images will be projected in Manhattan's Times Square on the September 9th nationwide Facebook Live broadcast!