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Utah mom’s plea: Let 12-year-old daughter into first grade

Born with a rare genetic disorder, Alexis, 12, wants to try a regular first grade instead of a special-education class with age peers.

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Doctors didn’t think she’d survive birth. Then they didn’t think she’d live past age 3.

"When she did it was amazing and she just kept living," Watson said. "I made a decision around that time that I didn’t want Alexis to live her life in a bubble just to protect her life and keep her alive. I wanted her to live life."

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She’s traveled around the world with Alexis — to Spain, Peru and Malaysia.

Alexis’ future, however, is unclear. Watson said her daughter is one of only a few people in the world with this particular disorder (4p-, 11p trisomy), which means there’s not a lot of past evidence on which to predict her development.

But she’s determined to help her daughter live her life as richly as possible, whatever that life may bring.

"I just know her enough to know if she completed first grade, I don’t care what happens after that, she would go through her life going, ‘I did first grade,’ " Watson said. "Now that she wants to try and can academically do it and they’re saying no — why would we do that? Why would we tell her, ‘No, you can’t try.’ "

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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