An Unexpected Journey

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C.


Life has a way of coming at you fast, doesn’t it? One minute you’re planning a future in a certain way, and in the next you find a completely different path before you. And sometimes there are no U-turns or do-overs. You just have to keep moving forward, finding the sunshine on a new journey.


Such was the case for Mary Ann Christo and her husband, Eric Waksmunski. Pregnant with twins, the couple looked forward to expanding their family – times two.  But when Shane and Wyatt were born early in critical condition, then diagnosed shortly after with Down syndrome, life took that crazy turn.


Of course there was an intense period of adjustment. Worry for the well being of their new sons was now coupled with questions and concerns around the diagnosis of Down syndrome. What would it all mean, and would the boys be okay?


Well, fast-forward a few years, and this story is shaping up in a very happy way. Shayne and Wyatt are now three years old and their devoted parents have started “Shane and Wyatt’s Down Syndrome Foundation”, a group with a mission that, “seeks to provide educational tools to children with Down syndrome to enhance cognitive and communication skills and to provided financial support to families when a child with Down syndrome is hospitalized for prolong time periods.”


When Dad, Eric, contacted Signing Time he shared that he had found our Baby Signing Time DVD/CD bundle and knew that it was something his own sons would very much benefit from. But, because the family is so committed to helping others through their foundation, they purchased 31 Signing Time bundles to give away -one for each day of October, which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!.


The journey for Shane and Wyatt is far from over, as both boys are undergoing surgery at the time of this writing. Children with Down syndrome often have to go through many procedures for their hearts and other complications that may come with the syndrome. Signing with them can greatly support their expressive language skills and offers a great way for them to communicate even when spoken language has not yet emerged. For more information on how signing can support children with Down syndrome, visit the Down syndrome resources page on our website.

Signing Time extends warm wishes and thoughts to the family! Be sure to let us know how Baby Signing Time, or any of our products have impacted your family. We love to hear from you!


Read more about Shane and Wyatt through a Times News Special report Down syndrome: A family’s journey.

Follow Shane and Wyatt on Facebook.