What I Do!

Hi and thank you for stopping by. I am Marla, a native New Jerseyan living in the Boston area with my family. I am a mother to my amazingly determined 11-year-old son Jacob, diagnosed with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect, stepmother to my incredibly independent 22-year-old stepdaughter Amanda, and wife to my best friend and biggest cheerleader Paul. I am a multi-business owner, author, speaker and Down Syndrome Advocate.

I love to educate others not only on the beauty of individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome but their determination and more importantly their “abilities“. Although they may be enhanced with an extra chromosome that doesn’t make them any different. They have dreams and aspirations like all of us. They want and are fully capable of living a quality of life, with the potential to thrive and contribute if only give the opportunity.

Helping others understand that they are really no different than all of us. They want to be educated in an inclusive environment, work in meaningful jobs, and be respected and valued in their communities like their peers.

I love being a community builder, where I bring moms together to help share our stories, provide support, resources and encouragement to each other. A mom who is walking the same walk. A Mom who can relate to the frustrations, the joy and the motivation to make a CHANGE!

Why I Do What I Do

The day my son was born, a whole new journey started for me. That of an ADVOCATE! My family quickly became his biggest and loudest supporters.

Why? Because he deserves the same opportunities as his peers. Especially in the following areas:

Education – the right to inclusion and access to the curriculum to excel academically. Opportunities to go on to post-secondary education.

Healthcare –  access to the best doctors and specialists to thrive and grow. An exhaustive list of supports and resources to assist him.

Employment – the ability to gain the necessary skills to find meaningful and fulfilling jobs.

Community – to be recognized as a valuable member of his community, with plenty of friends and opportunities to grow and learn.

Let’s Partner

Looking for businesses and organizations that want to support my mission of spreading awareness for Down Syndrome and Inclusion. Opportunities in schools, churches, conferences to share how and why I advocate.

Marla’s Story

As a Down Syndrome Advocate, Speaker, Author and Blogger, Marla lives and expresses her passion for Down Syndrome every day. Marla sees firsthand the challenges that individuals with Down Syndrome experience, and knows personally the barriers that parents face when advocating for the rights of their child. Dedicated to spreading awareness for inclusion and understanding for individuals with Down syndrome, she is active on her blog “Musings From A Special Needs Mom” and plays a proactive role in her community and in the classroom.

As a recognized speaker, she has spoken on several different stages, but her proudest moment was when she had the privilege of speaking on the global stage at the United Nations for World Down Syndrome Day in 2017. She loves educating and empowering Moms to find “their advocacy voice”.

Her life’s mission is to help make the world a more accepting place for her son and for all individuals with Down syndrome and it shows in all that she is involved with. So much, that her family will be launching a nonprofit called “Special & Determined”whose mission is to help families of children with Down Syndrome by providing financial support for therapeutic services and early interventions, to build a path to a more accepting and inclusive society, where all individuals with Down Syndrome can contribute.

In addition to her speaking and writing, Marla volunteers in her community as a member of the local Diversity and Cultural Alliance, National Down Syndrome Society – DS Ambassador and is a member of the Communication Task Force of her local Down Syndrome organization.  She was also honored in 2017 with the “Advocating for Another” award from WEGO health.