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Kenny Meets a Very Special Mermaid

swimming-with-a-mermaidOne day as I was swimming in a nearby bay and I noticed a little girl sitting on a dock. She did not look familiar to me so I thought that I might introduce myself as a good neighbor. She has large blue eyes and a cute smile, she definitely looked friendly. So, I swam over and popped my head out of the water and said,

“Hi! My name is Kenny, what’s your name?”

“Hi Kenny, I’m Amanda.” She had a marvelous smile. Then she said, “I am thinking about going for a swim. I am a mermaid, you know.”

“What? No way!” I said, laughing.

“I am so!” she insisted, smiling her big wonderful smile.

“Mermaids have fins, and you don’t have any. You have arms and legs and hands and feet!” I said.

“I have flippers and fins too. My Daddy made them for me. Do you want to see them?” Amanda was still smiling but she was very serious.

“Of course I do! It’s not every day that I meet a mermaid!” I said. In fact, I had never met a mermaid before. I didn’t think that they were real.

“OK,” said Amanda, “I will be right back!” And off she scampered toward the boathouse.

“Amanda, who are you talking to, sweetie?” Her father came over looking very concerned. When he saw that it only me, he smiled a big smile. He had Amanda’s big blue eyes. “And what is your name?” he asked me.

“I’m Kenny. Is it alright if I go swimming with Amanda?” I asked, just because he had looked so concerned.

“Absolutely. I can always trust a dolphin!” Amanda’s Dad said.

“Is she really a mermaid? Did you really make her fins and flippers?” I asked.

“Yes,” Amanda’s Dad said smiling, “Amanda has Down syndrome and too often, I hear her told what she cannot do. She is good at so many things. When she wanted to be a mermaid, I thought, this is something that she can definitely do! So I made her some fins! She is a terrific swimmer, the best swimmer that I have ever seen.” He father seemed really proud of her.

“Ok! Here I am!” said Amanda, and sure enough, she had flippers on her feet, and her father had really made a special pair of fins that fit on her hands like gloves. They were a wonderful green, blue color and matched her swimsuit. With a splash, Amanda dove into the water.

“We’ll be back soon, Daddy. We are just going for a quick swim. I want to show Kenny around.” Amanda called out.

“Ok, Amanda, I am here if you need me.” Her Dad said.

Amanda really was the best swimmer that I had seen. Well, the best human swimmer anyway! She really seemed so comfortable in the water, and she used her fins and flippers just like I do. She could swim really fast, and she could hold her breath for a very long time. I have to say, she was definitely a mermaid!

kenny-meets-amanda“You are an amazing swimmer, Amanda!” I said, “I believe you now. You really are a mermaid. How did your Dad make those fins?”

“My Daddy is an artist. Normally he likes to sculpt other things, but when I learned how to swim and wanted to be a mermaid, he said that he could help me to do that. On my birthday, he gave me these!” She waggled her fins at me. “And of course, I have been using them every day that I am able to swim! Swimming is my favorite thing to do.”

“What else do you like to do? I mean when you aren’t swimming?” I asked. I loved Amanda’s self-confidence. I was sure that swimming was not the only thing that she did. She seemed like a really active little person.

“Oh, I do lots of things. I like to create art just like my Daddy. I play Challenger baseball, I love to bake cupcakes and cookies. And I also hang out with my friends after school, but they are not as good at swimming as I am. When I get older, I might go into the Special Olympics for swimming! I bet I’ll win!” She was so amazingly confident! I loved that.

“I bet you will too. You are such an amazing swimmer now, I can only imagine how great you will be when you get older!”

After we were finished our swim, Amanda had to go inside for dinner and to go to bed. But we made plans to swim again the next day. And when I arrived at her dock, Amanda had a special surprise waiting for me! She had painted a picture of herself and a dolphin that looked just like me. On the top of the painting, she wrote “We are all one when we are in the water, and we are all one with the water” in very pretty pink letters.

“That is so true Amanda! And I love it!” I said.

“I had better keep it, though,” said Amanda, “because Daddy said that it might not survive getting wet.”

“I think that he is right,” I said.

We swam together for many days before I had to move on, but I promised I would be back to visit soon.  Amanda gave me a huge hug as I was leaving and said, “Kenny, I am so happy to have met you. I am the only person that I know with a dolphin for a friend!”

I said “Me too Amanda! I am the only person I know who has a mermaid for a friend!”

About Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is caused by an individual having three copies of the genes on the 21st chromosome rather than a pair, hence the name Trisomy 21 which also refers to people born with Down Syndrome. Traits vary and can include physical traits, developmental delays, challenges in speech and language and some immune issues. However, all persons with Down Syndrome are individuals and different from each other. People with Down Syndrome can be friendly, have great senses of humor, loving and love to be active. Just like all people, persons with Down Syndrome have many different interests and passions.

For more information about Down Syndrome, please follow the following links:
For the National Down Syndrome Society please go to
For the National Association for Down Syndrome, please go to

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