Our 1 Year Old Travels To New York City As A Down Syndrome Advocate!

We were excited to learn that the National Down Syndrome Society wanted to feature our little boy’s picture in a special video to be shown in the heart of Times Square to kick off the New York City Buddy Walk, and help rise awareness about Down syndrome!

I’ve already mentioned how much I enjoy New York, and especially Times Square…so this was a particularly  special parenting moment for me. (In fact, I’m such a fan of NYC that this was actually his second time to go…and he’s only one year old!)

The Interview

tv interview down syndrome child

All smiles during the interview!

A few days before we left for NYC our local NBC affiliate came out to Our Children’s House At Baylor (where Noah receives his various therapies) to interview us about our story and our upcoming trip. I thought they did a great job with the interview, and was glad they got some footage of Noah working hard at one of his occupational therapy sessions.

nbc tv interview down syndrome child

Hamming it up for the cameras during occupational therapy!

I’m thankful for news organizations like NBC that take the time to tell stories worth telling. I hope more of the mainstream media will devote airtime to telling stories of life that give people hope and encouragement. By the way, I think Noah did a great job on camera (for a one year old!) I’m guessing that’s because he’s had a lot of practice!

You can watch the entire interview below:

The (Pukey) Plane Ride

Noah’s been on a lot of plane rides in his short, one year old life, and generally does very well on them…but not this time! I’m not sure if we were having a bumpy flight, or he had an upset tummy, but either way he threw up on me in mid-flight.

It was very un-awesome…

baby throwing up vomiting on plane parent

Yelp. That’s baby vomit on my shirt.

I have to admit, having my child vomit on me while on a crowded and cramped airplane was really, really gross! But…I also have to admit that after the initial shock of being puked on was over (and almost throwing up myself) I was more concerned with how he felt than the small (and texture!) of his lunch all over my shirt. There’s no sadness quite like seeing your child sick and not being able to do anything about it.

I was also worried about him throwing up the rest of the flight, but thankfully I had on an undershirt, Noah fell asleep, and the rest of the flight went smoothly. 🙂

baby throwing up vomiting on plane parent

Glad I had on an undershirt!

Hanging Out In New York City!

After making it to NYC (and taking a shower!) we had a chance to wonder around the city and do a few of things that I like to do every time I’m in New York. Like…

Play on the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz…

fao schwarz big piano kid playing

Noah met a friend!

fao schwarz big piano kid playing

I love this kid!

Stock up on some awesome candy from the FAO Schwarz candy bar….

fao schwarz candy section new york 5th ave

Yes, it’s as tasty as it looks!

Take Noah to the free story time at FAO Schwarz … (can you tell I really like FAO Schwarz?)

child fao schartz story time reading

What’s better than a free story time!

Eat some delicious NYC pizza…

new york style pizza

I wish I had some right now!

And hang out at 30 Rock and Time Square!

mother son new york downs syndrome

Grabbing a snack at 30 Rock!

mother son new york downs syndrome

I love these two!

mother son new york downs syndrome

All smiles!

kid with down syndrome in new york city

Love this kid!

father son times square night special needs

Hanging out with my boy in Times Square!



times square view from hotel taxis

The view from our hotel room!

The National Down Syndrome Society Times Square Video

After a fun day of hanging out in the city we were ready to see what we came to NYC to…Noah’s sweet little face on the big screen in Times Square. After waking up and grabbing a quick snack, we headed down to Times Square to check it out!

As we walked up to the street to the sport where the video would be playing we could already see a crowd gathering, which was pretty cool!

crowd gathering to watch ndss video nyc

The crowd is gathering!

After waiting for a few minutes, the video finally started to roll! It was fun hearing all of the families and friend scream and yell when they saw their child’s picture displayed on the big screen!

crowd gathering to watch ndss video nyc

It was fun watching everyone watch their loved ones!

And then the moment we were waiting for…Noah’s adorable little mug up on the big screen proudly proclaiming to the world that all life is valuable! I love this kid.

noah smith noahs dad times square nyc

That’s our boy on the big screen in Times Square!!

ndds down syndrome buddy walk times square

Our little game changer!

After the video was over a few different families that follow our blog recognized us and came up to introduce their self. What a fun treat it was for us to meet other families who have been encouraged by our little boy! It was our privilege to meet them and we’re so glad they came up and said hi and allowed us the privilege of meeting their family!

families meeting in real life from online facebook

families meeting in real life from online facebook

Check Out Noah In The 2012 Times Square Buddy Walk Video For Yourself

Didn’t get a chance to make it to NYC to watch the video in person? No worries, we’ve got your covered! Press play below and you can watch the entire video in full! (Be sure to let us know in the comments below if your child makes an appearance in the video as well!)

Crossing The Finish Line At The New York City Buddy Walk!

After watching the Times Square video and making some new friends we grabbed a cab and headed to Central Park for the Buddy Walk. Although we’ve been to our local Buddy Walk before, this was our first Buddy Walk in New York, and it was awesome!

Without a doubt the best thing about this Buddy Walk was seeing our little one year boy walk across the finish line all by himself! It was a proud parenting moment for sure!

baby first buddy walk crossing finish line

Well, almost by himself!

The Buddy Walk After Party!

After crossing the finish line we hung around for the after party, which was a ton of fun! It was seriously a huge dance party with friends, music, dancing, and an appearance by Noah’s Buddy, Chris Burke, aka Corky from Life Goes On!

It was epic!

families playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

families playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

families playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

families playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

families playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

families playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

phillip scott playing at ndds central park down syndrome buddy walk

We always enjoying getting to spend time with the Lyons when we’re in New York. They have an awesome family, and a very cool son, Cade, who also has Down Syndrome.

And….if you’re into good books I would highly encourage you to pick up Rebekah’s book, “Freefall To Fly: A Breath Taking Journey Toward A Life Of Meaning” as soon as possible!

gabe rebekah lyons new york down syndrome

Hanging out with the Lyons!

Our New Friend, Rachel Coleman From Signing Time

My wife has already written about why she cried when she met Rachel Colman for the first time, but long story short, she has played a large part in helping our little boy (and many others) learn to talk! So it was a very special moment for both of us to be able to meet her, and  tell her thank you for all she has done to help our little boy learn to communicate with us.

rachel colman two little hands signing time

Tears of joy!

rachel colman down syndrome sign language

Thank you, Rachel!

If you don’t already know about Baby Signing Time please take a second to read this post, then grab disk one as soon as possible! Trust me on this one!

Headed Home

After a very fun trip to New York we headed home with a full heart. We’re so proud of our boy and how he is literally changing lives all over the world. We had a great time seeing many of our old friends, and making some new ones.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, comments on our Facebook page, supports our mission and helps us spread the word to the world that Down syndrome is ok. That all life has meaning, value, and purpose!

It’s our honor to fight the good fight with all of yout!

baby on plane dallas new york

We’re so proud of this kid!

Have you been to a Buddy Walk? If so, how was your experience? Leave a comment below and tell us about it! (Bonus points for sharing a picture!)

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. Dwight King says

    What a wonderful experience! I should know, because my little sister and I had the same. I know what it’s like to see your loved one on the Panasonic screen in New York City’s Time’s Square. Talk about being proud!

  2. Looks like you had a great time. Happy for you.

  3. Denise Roberts says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful time you had, with us. I’m posting a picture of my beautiful grandson James. He’s 19 months and just starting to crawl. He’s just had his first official pair of shoes! Awesome!!!
    Like Noah, he’s such a happy boy. He completes me. Love him so much

  4. Great to see u catching up on videos Rick Keep it up

  5. Noah is an incredible young boy who is not afraid to overcome anything. By following your post, I have noticed that he is probably one of the happiest little boy I have ever seen – mainly because he is supported by two amazing people who have a crazy amount of love for him. He is also quite lucky to go to New York for the second time and by the looks of it, he had an amazing time and I could not be anymore jealous. Best of luck to you and your family.

  6. Linda Souther says

    I follow your blog daily and I love seeing Noah, He has such an infectious smile he always brightens my day. He is a very smart and active young boy. This trip to NY was amazing for your family as well as other families that have a Down’s Syndrome Child. I love all the pictures and how amazing that a one year old boy is on the big screen in NYC? He is a star. He is a loving child. You are a great family.

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