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Hands Down Hannah

My name is Hannah and I will be 26 years old this week. I am a sister, a daughter, adopted, and I have Down Syndrome and Autism. I have no hearing in one ear and a mild loss in the other. I also have no vision in one eye and an undetermined loss in the other due to cataract removals followed by retinal detachments. I’ve had many eyes surgeries, but I get around well once I know the environment (except in the dark because I can’t see well in low light and become very frightened). 

I am nonverbal, but I make vocalizations, hum, smile, scream, laugh, cry, use some sign language, lead people to what I want, have used communication cards, and have a variety of ways to express my desires or needs.  Some of the signs I know are “more” (works for my love of food), “sorry” (Mom thought this was important due to my behavior at times…go figure!), “thank you”, “please” and a few others.

My family feels I am complex and often misunderstoodand and they have difficulty at times figuring out what I am trying to express.  

I love a routine. It can throw my entire day off by altering my routine, or not fully preparing me for change. This past year I have really come “out of my shell” and am willing to try new activities and go to new places. Some of the places and things that really used to bother me but I’m doing good with now include loud, sudden noises, the dogs barking, grocery stores, shopping malls, airplanes flying overhead, fluorescent lights (I see the flicker and hear the buzz that others don’t), crowds, or places like museums, restaurants, the zoo, and other locations where there are many people, noise and rapid change. I tolerate these things now, many times without much stress.   

I am NOT afraid of strangers and see them as an opportunity to get to do things I otherwise am unable. For example I love hands; I love my hands and other people’s hands. They call me “Hands Down Hannah.” My uncle used to say “So many hands, so little time” and it’s just so true! Hands are fascinating! But, my family has been teaching me to leave other people’s hands alone because they belong to them. I do not like this rule, so when I encounter a stranger the first thing I will do is take their hands, and see if I can get away with it. My mom feels this is dangerous.

I love, love, love music! I like to be in charge of the music which is why I always have my mp3 player with me (with built in speakers). I also like the karaoke machine and will make loud sounds into the microphone. I always wear a necklace because it gives me something to do with my hands and helps keep me out of trouble! I enjoy swimming, horseback riding, dancing and bouncing up and down (on the floor or the trampoline). I also love little dogs. We have 2 big dogs that I don’t pay much attention to, but when my sister comes over with her three little dogs I love them!

I LOVE to eat! My favorite “food” is Pringle’s potato chips (Mom doesn’t buy them because I sneak in the pantry and eat the whole can haha).

From my heart and hands to yours, Hannah 
(This is Hannah’s bio from our website ). Feel free to visit our website and watch for upcoming changes.  More will be added soon in blogs here from Hannah. She joined our family through adoption at the age of eight and has endured much disruption throughout the years. Each person’s adoption story is different and very personal to them. Some share their stories freely while others keep them private. We will be sharing some of the bits and pieces we know that we feel may help others to understand adoption, especially as it pertains to special needs adoption.

Always in gratitude,



One Response

  1. have you ever tried drawing hands hannah???try outlining one of your own or your moms and fill it in with what your heart tells you.i have no idea how good your dexterity is,however your feelings for hands is very touching.i love that.

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