JORDAN — Merlyn Fuller has written the book that she wishes she could have read 29 years ago when her daughter was born with Down syndrome.
The Jordan author’s third book, “A Rose By Any Other Name: Shawna Rose & Her Family Story of Down Syndrome,” was released last week. Fuller, who has previously published a memoir and a novel, will officially celebrate the book Sunday, April 23, during an event at the Jordan Bramley Library.
The free event will include a reading of the book and a question-and-answer session with Fuller and her daughter, Shawna Rose, who has Down syndrome.
Shawna Rose will turn 29 at the end of this month, and Fuller said she wanted to write about her daughter because 29 years ago, she saw adults with Down syndrome who had not had the benefits of early intervention and early education — “which has been really important to my daughter and a lot of the other kids in her generation,” Fuller said.
In fact, the Fullers didn’t even know that Shawna Rose had Down syndrome until she was born.
“That was not something that we expected,” Fuller said. “It didn’t run in our families. I was young, so I wasn’t in an age group that might’ve had that issue to look for.”
And when Shawna Rose was born, the doctors at the hospital asked Fuller and her husband if they were going to take the baby home or put her up for adoption.
“That was shocking to us,” she said. “They said that a lot of people do that, and it was just not even a consideration. Of course we’re not going to do that. Gosh, she’s our daughter. But that was 1988, and they were still asking that question.”
Twenty-nine years later, Fuller said, she wrote her book “for other parents that are having kids now.” And in it, she covers such topics as prejudice, doctors, schooling, friendships, activities, guardianship, wills, trusts and “everything like that,” she said.
Fuller added that she “loaded this thing with pictures” to show Shawna Rose’s different stages of growth.
“She’s very active. She’s in a lot of clubs, and she’s in Special Olympics,” Fuller said of her daughter. “I think it’ll be really helpful for not just people that have folks that have Down syndrome in their families but also…