Every Geraldi child is unique. Each has their own hobbies and distinguishing characteristics. Most have a number of physical and mental challenges, in addition to Down syndrome. And yet together, they have thrived. They went to school. They went to prom. They’ve even auditioned for America’s Got Talent. And now, they serve a bigger purpose—training dogs to be companions and police canines—helping others in need.
Birthday: July 6, 1986
Hobbies: Singing, dancing and listening to the Jonas Brothers
Challenges: Down syndrome, hypotonic (low muscle tone), cardiac issues and slurred speech. Tiffany had emergency heart surgery when she was 1 year old.
Claim to Fame: Tiffany stars as Sandy in the family production of Grease. She also took care of Camille when she had surgery. She’s friendly and outgoing and loves to hold hands.
Birthday: May 3, 1987
Hobbies: Playing guitar and helping mommy with anything she needs
Challenges: Down syndrome and Cretanism, a genetic disorder that affects the brain
Claim to Fame: Champ stars as Danny in the family production of Grease, and trains dogs to go on search and rescue and drug detection missions. He is proud to have his own cell phone and keeps the number written down in his wallet, sharing it only with those whom he likes best.
Birthday: February 8, 1988
Hobbies: Reading, writing and watching Lizzie Maguire on the Disney channel
Challenges: Down syndrome, extreme anxiety disorder, Multiple Personality Disorder, defiance and stubbornness. Her dominant personality has Down, the others don’t. She requires one-on-one supervision.
Claim to Fame: One of the smartest Geraldi children, Karley Sue enjoys training dogs to be companions—she loves repetition—and to go on search and rescue missions.
Birthday: July 3, 1988
Hobbies: Talking! And drawing on the Magnadoodle.
Challenges: Down syndrome and severe cardiac problems. She has a pacemaker and a defibrillator and was one of the youngest people in the country to have a St. Jude’s valve put in.
Claim to Fame: Adelle has been known to tell people, “I have Down syndrome with an attitude.” She is very animated, has clear speech and is a social butterfly, as well as a great artist. She’s also very good at training the dogs.
Birthday: July 18, 1988
Hobbies: Coloring and dancing and watching High School Musical 3
Challenges: Down syndrome, very severe cardiac issues, behavior problems and incontinence. She doesn’t have an anus and had a colostomy for the first four years of her life.
Claim to Fame: Jo-Layne is affectionately called “Jo Pain” by her family.
Birthday: August 27, 1992
Hobbies: Singing, dancing, listening to music and writing in notebooks.
Challenges: Severe cardiac issues and hip dysplasia. Her hips have been repaired twice and she was in a body cast for a year and a half. She will eventually be wheelchair bound.
Claim to Fame: Angelica loves purses—she has one for every outfit.
Birthday: July 3, 1993
Hobbies: Drawing on the Magnadoodle
Challenges: Down syndrome, limited awareness and communication, and cardiac, respiratory and neurological problems. Carmello’s neurological issues have increased as an adult and he now needs constant supervision.
Claim to Fame: Carmello loves listening to music on his Discman—he almost always has headphones on.
Birthday: October 17, 1994
Hobbies: Playing with the Etch-a-Sketch and coloring, coloring, coloring!
Challenges: Bronchial pulmonary dysplasia, severe asthma and other respiratory issues. Due to hip problems, she will eventually be wheelchair bound.
Claim to Fame: Sophie and Carmello came to the Geraldis around the same time. They were both blond, blue-eyed and about the same age and size, so many people mistake them for twins.
Birthday: December 28, 1994
Hobbies: Playing guitar, singing and dancing, as well as playing football and basketball
Challenges: Obsessive Defiant Disorder. Jackson has serious behavior issues.
Claim to Fame: Jackson loves to talk. He performs the basic dog training, and when focused, he’s very good at it.
Birthday: December 24, 2008
Challenges: Born cocaine-addicted and was blind and deaf for the first seven months of her life. She doesn’t like to eat and has to be fed PediaSure. She is extremely underweight.
Claim to Fame: Isabella is the baby of the family and loves the attention of her brothers and sisters. She’s extremely sweet and will happily settle into the lap of anyone who befriends her.
Birthday: August 4, 1992
Challenges: Legally blind and deaf, Adam has microcephally (small head with reduced brain power) and a profound mental handicap. He is non-verbal and non-ambulatory.
Claim to Fame: Adam “walks” around the block in his wheelchair to soak up the sun.
Birthday: March 14, 1988
Hobbies: Dancing and watching Disney movies
Challenges: Down syndrome, autism, profound mental handicap
Claim to Fame: Courtney just loves fairy tales.
Birthday: March 7, 1986
Hobbies: Swinging on the jungle gym in the backyard and going to the park
Challenges: Down syndrome, profound mental handicap, non-verbal and legally deaf
Claim to Fame: Darlene enjoys going on walks around the neighborhood (with supervision, of course).
Birthday: January 14, 1996
Hobbies: Playing cards and doing arts and crafts
Challenges: Down syndrome, chronic cardiac issues, tracheoesophageal fistula, GE reflux, G-J feeding tube and a trainable mental handicap
Claim to Fame: He loves rooting for the Miami Heat basketball team.
Birthday: August 12, 1948
Hobbies: Listening to music, eating and sitting outside in the sun
Challenges: Mental retardation and seizure disorder. Dorothy had a left cerebral stroke and is non-ambulatory.
Claim to Fame: “Mama D,” as she’s called, is known around the house for watching trashy TV.
Birthday: June 21, 1994
Hobbies: Listening to music and sitting outside in the sun
Challenges: Seizure disorder, G-tube, mental handicap, non-verbal, non-ambulatory
Claim to Fame: Gabrielle loves the feel of soft, fluffy teddy bears.
Birthday: December 14, 1998
Hobbies: Playing in the pool, dancing and watching Disney movies
Challenges: Down syndrome with autistic tendencies, profound mental handicap and a propensity to hurt herself
Claim to Fame: Hannah enjoys assisting with grocery shopping and embracing her surroundings wherever she goes.
Birthday: January 21, 1966
Hobbies: Arts and crafts, word puzzles, shopping and dancing
Challenges: Down syndrome, early onset Alzheimer’s
Claim to Fame: Jo-Ann likes to help around the house and assist with grocery shopping.
Birthday: June 12, 1989
Hobbies: Playing board games, listening to music, and going to sporting events and movies
Challenges: 9P minus syndrome, hydrocephaly (water on the brain), impulse control disorder with aggression and mental retardation
Claim to Fame: Kyle is a huge Miami Heat fan. He can be shy at times and confident and outgoing at others. He can be incredibly loyal and loving.
Birthday: August 25, 1986
Hobbies: Dancing, playing basketball and watching the Miami Heat
Challenges: Down syndrome and asthma
Claim to Fame: Larry’s favorite activity is going to the movie theater. He also loves to eat.
Birthday: October 8, 2002
Hobbies: Dancing, arts and crafts, and playing with dolls
Challenges: Down syndrome, A.D.H.D., impulse control disorder, aggression, psychotic disorder and PICA (a condition in which people try to eat and drink all kinds of objects)
Claim to Fame: Lola-Ann is rarely spotted without her Elmo stuffed animal by her side.
Birthday: October 25, 1960
Hobbies: Dancing, listening to music, shopping and playing word games
Challenges: Down syndrome, seizure disorder and early onset Alzheimer’s
Claim to Fame: Le Anne simply loves to eat.
Birthday: April 2, 1986
Hobbies: Cooking, dancing, arts and crafts and listening to music
Challenges: Down syndrome
Claim to Fame: Mariah has a boyfriend and loves to go on dates. She’s very outgoing.
Birthday: December 4, 1992
Hobbies: Listening to music, dancing and going to sporting events, especially basketball
Challenges: Mental retardation, depression and A.D.H.D. He received a liver transplant in 2009 and currently experiences a number of additional medical issues because of it.
Claim to Fame: Maritail is known for two things: spending time with his older sister Renee and watching basketball.
Birthday: August 19, 1991
Hobbies: Playing ball outside, walking around the block and fiddling around with musical toys.
Challenges: Down syndrome, cardiac issues, asthma, A.D.H.D., impulse control disorder, aggression, psychotic disorder and a tendency to hurt himself.
Claim to Fame: Michael loves going out to eat.
Birthday: November 6, 1984
Hobbies: Spending time with family, watching TV and soaking up the sun
Challenges: Profound mental handicap and seizure disorder. Pedro is non-verbal and has a tendency to hurt himself.
Claim to Fame: A family man, Pedro can always be counted on to spend time with his parents, brothers and sisters.
Birthday: April 16, 1988
Hobbies: Playing poker and basketball, and going to sporting events and movies. Seth is very shy.
Challenges: Down syndrome. He rarely speaks.
Claim to Fame: Seth lives for basketball. Go Miami Heat!
Birthday: October 27, 1972
Hobbies: Playing basketball, dancing, watching movies and doing arts and crafts projects
Challenges: Down syndrome
Claim to Fame: Serviano is known for helping out around the house.
Birthday: August 14, 1979
Hobbies: Listening to music, going to the park and rooting for the Miami Heat
Challenges: Cerebral palsy, mental retardation and spastic quadriplegia. He is non-verbal and non-ambulatory.
Claim to Fame: He really enjoys the freedom of riding around in his power wheelchair and takes advantage of it often.
Birthday: July 26, 1987
Hobbies: Playing in the pool and with musical and/or soft, fluffy toys
Challenges: Down syndrome, seizure disorder, profound mental handicap, impulse control disorder, aggression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and a tendency to hurt himself
Claim to Fame: Woody enjoys long rides in the car.