Most parents whose children are born with Down’s syndrome never think it will happen to them. But with a strong support base, a Hertfordshire family want to give people an insight into how they would ‘never go a day without her’.

Having a child with Down’s syndrome can test some families, but most of them adjust to their child’s needs very quickly.


Some parents are unaware that their child has the condition until they are born, so finding out when giving birth can be suprising for the whole family.

Lisa Thurgood’s daughter, Madison, was born with Down’s syndrome twelve years ago. She talks about the impact the condition has had on her and her family life.

Video: Madison’s mum speaks about how having a Down syndrome child affects the family

Lisa says: “It’s made us the people we are, and our friends and all of our extended family adore Madison.

“She’s not put into that little box where she’s disabled or anything, she’s just Madison and she wouldn’t be Madison if she didn’t have Down’s syndrome, and we adore her.”

Lisa and Madison enjoying some sunshine
Lisa and Madison enjoying some sunshine

Madison is one of four children. She has twin brothers, Lucas and Jordan, and another brother, Mason.

Madison and her family at Disneyland, Florida
Madison and her family at Disneyland, Florida

Before Madison was born, her parents had no idea she would have Down’s syndrome. They knew she was small and that was a concern but the surgeons kept saying ‘it’s one of those things’, so it did come as a shock to them.

Video: Madison tells us how much her family mean to her

Her family were always supportive whilst she was growing up as she took a lot longer to learn how to do things for herself, compared to her other siblings.

Madison was very unstable on her feet, especially in the early stages when she started walking, so always keeping an eye on her was very time consuming but it helped the family to build patience.

Lisa believes, “you have to have a lot of patience, I think I have a lot more patience now than I ever had because of it.”

Video: Home video of Lucas helping Madison with some reading

Madison was born with the Trisomy 21 form of Down’s syndrome.

Facts about Trisomy 21 form of Down’s syndrome

  • Trisomy 21 is the most common form of Down syndrome
  • It affects 94% of people with the condition
  • Every cell in the body has an extra copy of chromosome 21

Information provided by the NHS

The Down’s Syndrome Association aims to help people with Down’s syndrome to live full and rewarding lives and to support their families.

Stuart Mills, Information Officer for the Down’s Syndrome Association says: “We offer training around the early years and child development around children growing up so that is something families can access from us.”

Audio: Stuart Mills, Information Officer for the Down’s Syndrome Association says…..

From 2014 to 2015, the charity had 8,638 calls to their switchboard, 3,825 of those calls were actually to their helpline.

Any families that want to get in touch with the Down’s Syndrome Association can do so on their helpline on 0333 121 2300 or via email on

Any more information can be found at