My name is Jennifer Sheran. I am a mother of three and my youngest has Down syndrome.
The day we got the news that our newborn had Down syndrome, my husband made a plea.
“Now don’t run out and get involved in every organization,” he said.
He knew a whole new journey, a new purpose had already started for me.
Soon after Joey was born, as my husband suspected, I joined the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. I eventually served on its board for six years. I put my professional background in communications to use for our local DSAA and GiGi’s Playhouse for a couple of years. I also held the position of marketing director of a nonprofit serving people with developmental disabilities. During that time, I became a Partners in Policymaking graduate and regularly advocate for issues supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.
Along the way, I have talked with dozens of parents. They face struggle, surgeries, loss, loneliness, discrimination, and ignorance. Yet they also are wrapped in beauty. They embrace the community, love deeply, become advocates, and rise above.
What I wish for everyone to know is that we are all designed to experience joy, even when walking through times of challenge.
I have a strong desire to serve the families in our community in meaningful and lasting ways. So, I became a life coach and started Dezined4Joy to help special needs families create their best life.
Parenting a child with special needs comes with additional challenges and aspirations. We worry about our kids’ health issues, behavior challenges, education access, progress, and inclusion, fitting in, independence, future, and how all of this will affect siblings. We also have additional financial challenges and the realization our empty nest years may never actually be empty.
Dezined for Joy helps special needs families survive, thrive, and live a life of joy.
I am honored to work with parents and individuals through coaching, vision mapping, life planning, and person-centered planning to create an intentional and joyful life.
When life gets overwhelming and I start to forget my purpose, I am inspired by how many of my friends with Down syndrome express complete delight at the simplest things.
They notice the beauty and the comedy I often miss when I am stuck in my daily, busy life. My son’s smile, cheers of joy, and infectious laughter remind me with moments of overflowing joy every day.
My vision is to create a world where there is appreciation, inclusion, and acceptance for people living with disabilities. We can get there by teaching the valuable lesson I learned from my son – we are all designed for joy.