Thirty years ago, two young tots met through their moms. They had one important thing in common: Both have Down syndrome. But they found a lot more that drew them together, and over the years, they fell in love. Now Austin Wayne Underwood and Jessica Smith are getting married this summer. The Texas couple is planning a Western-themed wedding, complete with custom-made cowboy boots. Yee-haw!
Jessica and Austin met when their mothers bonded over trying to mainstream their kids wherever they could. And it was thanks to their moms that Austin and Jessica are now getting to do what so many of us dream of and take for granted: get married!
But they can't do it alone. Couples with mental and developmental disabilities need a strong support network to help them with some very specific challenges. Here are 8 things that can help a special needs marriage like Jessica and Austin's flourish.