« back to Fiction and Poetry

Loving Andrew: A Fifty-Two-Year Story of Down Syndrome

Rosemary (Romy) Wyllie, MA 1955

A mother recounts how the birth of Andrew with Down syndrome and the loss to cancer of a second baby start a family’s journey through the maze of parenthood. With the support of a loving father, mother, and two younger siblings, Andrew mastered the skills of life and became a contributing member of society.

In spite of coping with schizophrenia in his later years, Andrew remained active, happy, and full of love until Alzheimer’s stole his memory and brought his life to a close at the age of fifty-two. This book is aimed at a broad audience in order to help all people understand the humanity and value of a person with a disability. This is especially important as medical technology continues to improve prenatal testing for abnormalities, and parents are faced with the heart-wrenching decision to terminate a pregnancy or risk having a less-than-perfect baby.

The number of children born with Down syndrome is being drastically reduced, just as opportunities for them to be accepted into the mainstream of life have never been better, and their development has improved exponentially. Life is a game of chance and we should not expect to play God. No embryo selection or prenatal test can guarantee a flawless product or rule out unexpected calamities such as the death to cancer of our second baby.

Interwoven in the story of Andrew are: half a century of changing attitudes toward the developmentally disabled; improved educational opportunities; and discussions on pre-natal testing and abortion. Examples from the stories of two other children with Down syndrome, born 21 and 35 years after Andrew, help to illustrate the services that became available after passage of the U.S. law “Education for All Handicapped Children” in 1975.


This clear-eyed, intelligent memoir is an invaluable resource for anyone whose life is affected by a developmental disability. —Kirkus Review

Once you start Loving Andrew by Romy Wyllie, you'll have a hard time putting it down. Wyllie deftly combines her inspiring personal story of the challenges and joys of raising Andrew, her firstborn son who has Down syndrome, with fascinating information about how society has progressed in the treatment and acceptance of handicapped people. This is a book for everyone. —Fran Yariv, author of seven novels.

ISBN: 978-1478298342