Hello! I'm Oriana, and as you can see, I am nuts about a band called Splender. If you listen to their music on this page, you'll understand why. Did you guess that pink is one of my favorite colors, and that hearts are important to me, since they are all about love? Love! Well, I love my family...they are the greatest. My sister Sabrina is 26 and works in NYC, and when she's home she takes me shopping. My brother Ian is 23, and we go cuckoo together. He's starting law school and is a great friend, even though I don't like his music (Grateful Dead). My mom and dad take me to Italy, and to concerts, and movies, and shopping, and all sorts of other great places. 

I also love acting, babies, being famous (did you see me on the Oprah show? I was in the book, Best Friends, and that's what the show was about), movies (I can recite 'Father of the Bride', 'Titanic' and 'Romeo and Juliet' I've seen them so many times!), and just hanging out, copying recipes, like I'm doing in the picture below. 

What you might not be able to tell is that I can speak all sorts of languages, like Hebrew (my Bat Mitzvah was wonderful), Italian, Spanish, German, Greek, and a little Japanese. I'm going to be 21-years-old this August, and plan to go to a college that specializes in independent living. You see, I was born with something called Down Syndrome, which means I have one more chromosome than you do...in each of my cells.This chromosome makes me 'special' in all sorts of ways. For starters, I am very nice, and everyone seems to really like me. I was the manager of the girl's field hockey team in high school and head usher in the musical 'Hair' at Fairfield University. And for enders, this extra chromosome makes it harder for me to learn things. What I hope to learn next year is how to cook, do banking and budgeting, and travel around in buses.

I can't wait to cook new pasta dishes and cheese steaks and things like that. Not junk food, though, since I think that it's important for people to watch their weight. Their skin, too, so even though I live just a few blocks from the beach, I try not to get too much sun. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to music, so if you lived in my town, you might see me looking like I do in this picture!

Are you wondering what I think of boys? I used to have a boyfriend, and I have a lot of crushes, but right now I think that boys are OK. What I DON'T like is when they call girls 'chicks'. We have names, you know!

Well I'd better get ready to go to work. I work at the Gap, and I greet people when they come in and then I help them in the dressing room. 

Thanks a lot for reading my story. I hope that you've learned that people who have differences like Down syndrome are more like you than they are different from you, and I hope that you'll want to invite them over to hang out with you at your house. Would you like to know more about this extra chromosome and what Down's is all about?

Here I am during my college days.

Down sydrome, understanding the gift of life.

To the frog ponds
Write to Oriana
To the sitemap

Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Published: March 22, 2002
Last updated: November 14, 2004