“My initial response was sadness at first. I was sad because Taylor was only a baby and I didn’t want her to have to live in a world that can be cruel and mean because of your diagnosis…” Ayoca said in her innerview. Ayoca Freeman is a proud mother of three – Taylor, Trinity, and Brayden Freeman. Her daughter, Taylor is a musician and dancer who plays in her high school marching band who happens to have Down syndrome. Ayoca works for Babies Can’t Wait of Georgia as a Special Instructor/ Service Coordinator and resides in Hartwell, GA.
Innerview for Ayoca Freeman
YVONNE PIERRE: Ayoca, when was Taylor diagnosed with Down syndrome, and what was your initial response?
AYOCA FREEMAN: Taylor was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Taylor is my first child. My initial response was sadness at first. I was sad because Taylor was only a baby and I didn’t want her to have to live in a world that can be cruel and mean because of your diagnosis. But I also knew that God didn’t make any mistakes and that Taylor was created in His image and that he formed her in my womb just the way that He wanted her to be.
YVONNE: What inspired you to put Taylor in music?
AYOCA: Taylor fell in love with music as a baby and has always loved singing songs, watching videos, or making music. As a baby, she loved Elmo and saw him many times in person. In Elementary school, she became interested in Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. She saw them in concert as well. When Taylor became a high schooler, she saw Maxwell in concert and would love to meet Madea someday.
YVONNE: What instrument does she play?
AYOCA: Taylor joined the band when she was a 6th Grader in Middle School. She plays the Marimba which looks similar to a Xylophone.
YVONNE: How did she end up playing in her high school’s marching band?
AYOCA: Going to High School, Taylor’s ultimate goal was to become a part of the Marching Band. She easily fit in the Marching Band because she joined along with her peers who were also in the Middle School band. In High School, Taylor plays the Marimba as well as the Cymbals.
YVONNE: What other skills does she have that you’d like to share?
AYOCA: Taylor takes ballet, jazz, and tap from Hot Shots Dance Company. She has independently learned how to sign on her own and did amazing with this but currently has a private tutor so that she can be professionally taught. She has her Learner’s Permit and enjoys driving her mom’s car. She is a part of her Church Choir, she’s also on the Praise and Worship Team. She is also a part of the Dance Ministry where she used to dance and/ or sign language to minister through music.
YVONNE: What advice would you give to parents about supporting their child’s talents?
AYOCA: God gave them these talents therefore let them use them! If it does not work out, try something different. Taylor pushes me and she will not give up!
YVONNE: What has been your greatest challenge? How do you work through and overcome it?
AYOCA: My greatest challenge has been having multiple kids of different ages. For example, Taylor who is the oldest is 17, her younger sister is 10 and her little brother is 7. They don’t always want to go to the same places and they all have different friends, etc. Their wants and needs are different but I try to balance them all.
YVONNE: What do you know now, in regards to Down syndrome, that you wish you knew then?
AYOCA: To be honest, nothing! At the time when I had Taylor, I was a teacher and I knew that I wasn’t going to treat Taylor any differently than any of my other students or any other kids that I may have in the future. My family didn’t treat Taylor any differently either.
YVONNE: What has been the biggest life lesson you’ve learned because of your journey with Taylor?
AYOCA: The biggest life lesson I’ve learned is to enjoy the journey! Enjoy every single moment of the day with your kids. Our kids are only little for a short time. Soon, my senior will be graduating high school and going off to college. Make memories and take lots of pictures!
YVONNE: Anything else you’d like to share?
AYOCA: Last but not least, because I’ve believed in my child, everyone else around me does also! I’m super proud of Taylor and she’s also proud of herself too. I’ve always built Taylor up therefore no one can break her down. I’m her biggest cheerleader and she knows that I’ll always be beside her, behind her, or in front of her cheering her own. Not only me but her family as well! I’ve tried to also help Taylor to be independent as possible because I might not always be here to take care of her. Thank you for this opportunity to complete this interview.
Connect with Ayoca:
- Facebook Page – Ayoca Freeman
- Instagram – Taylor Freeman @taylorfreeman3292
- Facebook Page- Andreca Burton (Ayoca’s sister)