down syndrome advocacy services

Not simply because he has an extra chromosome or the words “Down syndrome” on his medical charts. It’s because my son forces other people to see him as any other typical kid -- with his awesome baseball hitting or football throwing or his love of gross bugs and underwear-themed TV shows -- you see, he really is just like anyone else. 

I want that to always be the case -- for him and for anyone else who has the cards stacked against them. 

I want him to have basic rights -- or at least the ability to attempt things like education, employment, financial stability, safety, relationships. 

I’m not an expert in anything quite like I’m an expert in being Zach’s mom and his advocate. We’ve had to fight for him on so many things since the week he was born. We’ve had to overcome stereotypes and preconceived notions and we’ve had to work twice as hard to prove he’s just like anyone else. 

The most inspirational person to me? It’s my son.

I always wanted to be a storyteller. I was a Journalism major in college and a newspaper reporter for years out of college. I told stories that made me cry; I shared stories that enraged me; I wrote articles that inspired and celebrated. 
Over the years, I’ve learned that you can tell stories in so many ways. These days, I tell stories through images captured -- hugs and kisses, collecting leaves, twirling in dresses, holding babies, mommas learning to use their cameras better, self-advocates with special needs that are breaking ground and overcoming all the obstacles in their way -- joy, joy, more joy. 

Joy. It’s all around us. I want to capture it. I want to share it. I want to spread it.

hi, I'm wendy!

I want to do more. I want to reach further than our family and our home’s four walls and local community. 

I want to help you be better, learn more, educate yourself. You can be the difference between hope and defeat; between joy and sadness; between being open-minded and open-hearted and… well, not being open. 

Let's Chat

You’re going to see a lot out of me in the future when it comes to advocacy, but reach out today if I can help you with:

- Guest blog posts on Down syndrome, advocacy, inclusion, special education, raising a child with special needs, photographing families with special needs and more

- Education on people-first language, dos and dont’s or what to say, why the “R”-word is so bad and more

- 1-on-1 advocacy consultations & mentorships

- Public speaking & virtual chats

And more!

Let's chat!

C21 Advocacy event

with National Down Syndrome Society

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Celebrate the special with the docal family

Mount Airy, Maryland

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FRIENDS Portrait session

Frederick, Maryland

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buddy walk with Mrs. Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

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Reach out to Wendy today to open your hearts and open your minds and help make this world a little better for people like Zach.

Friendship by LiliZach

learn more about us

Did you know Wendy and her friend Diany began a local nonprofit organization here in Frederick for families with children with Down syndrome? 

Named after our kiddos with an extra chromosome, FBLZ reaches out to families who have just received a DS diagnosis (sometimes prenatally and sometimes at birth) and gives support, encouragement, resources, baby gifts and toys, photo sessions and more. We also give hope. And that’s a beautiful thing. We’re working with local hospitals, birthing centers and doctors’ offices to reach all of our local families. 

In the future, we also hope to do more community outreach with businesses and employers, medical professionals and educators. Big things are happening here!

When Zach was just a few days old, I sat with my cute newborn on my lap and started the Google search that would change my life. I typed in the words “I just had a baby who was born with Down syndrome” and I landed at NDSS. They provided tools, advice, real people to talk to and all the support a new mom in a scary moment needed. 

In the decade since, I’ve been lucky enough to photograph many of their major events -- fundraiser dinners, marches on Capitol Hill with legislators, trainings and educational opportunities and even the heart of New York City for their annual Buddy Walk. Capturing the moments of self-advocate victories, passed bills and laws to better the future of people with disabilities and all the hugs, laughter, joy and tears in between has quite literally changed my life. 

My world now includes hundreds of people I would never have known without NDSS -- advocates and the moms who walked before me and some incredible kids and adults who give me hope and love. 

“I just had a baby who was born with Down syndrome”

National Down Syndrome Society

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