A pair of toddlers with Down’s syndrome have formed an unbreakable bond after they were brought together by their parents.
Clara and Cutler, who are both two, have been inseparable since Clara’s mum Lana Beaton, 39, and Cutler’s mom Amy Sanders, 43, began arranging play dates for their children when they were just a few months old.
Amy, a school teacher, and stay-at-home mom Lana knew each other growing up in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but were never close friends until they both welcomed children with Down’s syndrome within months of one another.
Now the adorable pair spend at least two days a week together and share their physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions.
Clara and Cutler, who are both two, have been inseparable since they met when they were a few months old
Both Cutler and Clara, who were born within months of one another, have Down’s syndrome
They were introduced by their mothers, who as luck would have it were childhood friends
Mom-of-four Lana, who gave birth to Clara in November 2015, sent Amy a Facebook message after she heard from a mutual friend her son Cutler, born in February 2016, also had the condition.
The parents arranged to meet in a local Starbucks in April 2016, where Clara and Cutler hit it off, and the mothers say their toddlers have been best buddies ever since.
The moms say bubbly Clara has a positive influence on Cutler, who is a little shy, and is one of the only people who can bring him out of his shell.
The pair love playing tag, watching movies and getting up to mischief together.
The adorable pair spend at least two days a week together and share their physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions
Lana, who gave birth to Clara in November 2015, sent Amy a Facebook message after she heard from a mutual friend her son Cutler had the same condition
The parents arranged to meet in a local Starbucks in April 2016, where Clara and Cutler hit it off and the toddlers have been best friends ever since
WHAT IS DOWN’S SYNDROME?
Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition that typically causes some degree of learning disability and certain physical characteristics.
- Floppiness at birth
- Eyes that slant down and out
- A small mouth
- A flat back of head
Screening tests can uncover Down’s syndrome during pregnancy but are not completely accurate.
It is caused by an extra chromosome in a baby’s cell due to a genetic change in the sperm or egg.
The risk increases according to the age of the mother.
A 20-year-old woman has around a one in 1,500 chance of having a baby with Down’s syndrome.
Women in their 40s have a one in 100 chance.
There is no evidence women can reduce their risk.
Down’s syndrome does not have a cure.
Treatment focuses on supporting the patient’s development.
Down’s syndrome sufferers are more at risk of health complications such as heart disorders, hearing problems, thyroid issues and recurrent infections.
Source: NHS Choices
Lana said: ‘Amy and I knew each other growing up – our parents were good friends.
‘However, we never really ran in the same circles and as we grew up we lost touch.
‘A friend of mine came over to see Clara one day and she told me that she was certain that Amy had just welcomed a little boy with DS.’
Lana found out at her 20 week scan that Clara had Down’s Syndrome and she joined local support groups in the area where she lives.
She continued: ‘I thought [by] my connecting with Amy we might be a good support for one another.
‘I sent her a sensitive message asking her if Cutler had an extra chromosome like Clara and Amy wrote back within an hour.
‘We met up about a week later in a local Starbucks and we really connected.’
The babies’ bond was evident straight away, when their mothers laid them down and let them interact with each other.
‘We laid the babies out on a blanket and they started touching each other – you could see that there was a connection there between them,’ Lana continued.
Amy said: ‘It was really amazing to connect with Lana because she’s such an amazing advocate for Down’s Syndrome.
‘We first met up at the bookstore and we brought the babies with us.
‘Lana is such a calming and confident person and became a great support to me. We arranged some playdates for them both the rest is history.’
The pair may share the same condition, but their personalities couldn’t be more different.
Amy said: ‘Clara is very outgoing and she will tell you what’s what! Cutler is shy and reserved.
The moms say bubbly Clara has a positive influence on Cutler, who is a little shy
Lana found out at her 20 week scan that Clara had Down’s Syndrome and reached out to other mums for support
The babies’ bond was evident straight away when their mothers laid them down and let them interact with each other
The moms said that everyone they know is ‘blown away’ by the toddlers’ close bond
‘He admires people from afar but he’s definitely more cautious than Clara.
‘We try to have playdates as often as we can and they have their speech and occupational therapies together twice a week.
‘Everybody is blown away by their friendship. Everybody is smitten with them.’
Despite her big personality, Clara has faced many medical setbacks
Clara underwent open heart surgery when she was just three months old and is fed through a tube in her stomach
Clara also has Hirschsprung’s disease, a condition that impacts the nerves in her colon making it difficult to go to the toilet
She watches videos of Cutler in her hospital bed when the pair are kept apart by her illnesses
The toddler underwent open heart surgery when she was just three months old and as a result she is fed through a G-tube in her stomach.
Clara also lives with Hirschsprung’s disease, a condition that impacts the nerves in her colon making it difficult to pass stool.
Although Clara is always in and out of hospital, her mom Lana says she loves watching videos of Culter from her hospital bed.
The pair like to chase each other and watch films, with Clara’s favourite being High School Musical
Their mothers say they know their children continue will continue to support each other as they grow up
Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition that typically causes some degree of learning disability and certain physical characteristics
‘You wouldn’t think it from her personality, but Clara is a medically fragile child so we are always in and out of hospital.
‘But they stay in touch with videos which is great.
‘When they are together they have such fun, they chase each other and watch movies – right now Clara is obsessed with High School Musical.’
Cutler’s mom Amy said: ‘I think Cutler has an amazing ally in Clara and we know they’ll be a great support for one another growing up. They make my heart happy.’
The condition is caused by an extra chromosome in a baby’s cell due to a genetic change in the sperm or egg
The mums teamed up to create a blog ‘Clara & Cutler’, which they hope will help other mums of children with the condition
They say it has given them a chance to ‘network’ and make friends with other families who have a child with Down’s Syndrome
They said they feel ‘blessed and lucky’ to have toddlers who have such a special bond
The moms have teamed up to create a blog, ‘Clara & Cutler’, which they hope will provide a helpful platform for other parents who are raising children with Down’s Syndrome.
‘The blog has been such a great way to network with other parents and we love keeping everyone up to date with Clara and Cutler.
‘It’s been a lot of fun. They’re just such a great team, I think we all feel very blessed and lucky that they’re in our lives.’