Boy With Down Syndrome And Health Complications Expresses Pride In His Dad

Grateful parents of Ryan Senneff have shared a clip of the moment when the 8-year-old boy expressed his appreciation for his dad and it’s so heartwarming.


The boy from St. Louis, Missouri, has been in a tough battle with health issues all his life.

He’s had gastrointestinal issues, two too-small kidneys, and other problems that have landed him in the hospital.

His body has issues absorbing vitamins and his lab results were “scary,” and his mom Maura Senneff said that Ryan, who also has Down syndrome, wasn’t making much progress at all.

She decided to step up and used the help of experts in traditional Chinese medicine and Applied Behavior Analysis who were PhDs in their fields, along with the medical doctors and therapists who were seeing Ryan his whole life.

It seemed to work and Ryan started making significant progress. A recent video shared by Maura on Instagram, showed him skipping, correcting his dad’s form, and even expressing pride in his dad.

“The brain is malleable, it isn’t fixed,” Senneff said. “Everything started heading in the right direction when we began to change our strategy. More eye contact, speaking in longer sentences, he actually started running, he would never run before. Once he wasn’t feeling like hell all the time, once his body was functioning more normally everything started clicking.”

Senneff said that Ryan’s “labs are now normal” and his white blood count, once low, is also in the normal range. His kidneys are the same size and growing normally. And he’s on grade level academically – learning Spanish and doing fractions alongside his classmates.

Seneff wants the video to be an eye-opener for all those who are living with chronic illness that things can turnaround, but you may need to change the way you do things.

“We dropped the ball on mastering some bilateral coordination skills years ago bc the plateaus were endless while triaging acute illnesses,” she wrote in her Instagram post.

“Back to the drawing board- what we were doing was not working. So Ryan’s docs focused on coordination between body & brain + vision for motor planning the past few weeks. 2 weeks later he got the hang of a bunch of skills & mastered out of all his vision exercises. These bilateral skills using the left & right sides of the brain will help with writing, all sports & ball skills, tying shoes, confidence, social skills, language, etc. Even late, it’s still progress. Sometimes the little victories are the biggest.”

While his mom and dad are understandably proud of Ryan, he’s clearly proud of them too,

“I’m going to cry for you dad,” we hear Ryan say in the video to his dad, Jack Senneff. “I’m so proud of you dad,” Ryan said as he puts his hands on his dad’s shoulders.

Seneff added, “This is about showing what’s possible and improving the outcome for other children with special needs. Never give up, it’s never too late.”

What a powerful video and message to all those who have been doing things the familiar way and are too afraid to try something new.


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