John Stocking arrives at the law firm on Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee
that bears his name about 10 each morning. He starts the day a little
late because on his way in from Hartland, he drops off his 43-year-old
son John for work at the Waukesha Training Center.
John is a miracle and a product of
love. In September of 1963, Stocking, at the age of 23, was to begin
law school at UW-Madison. In May, he and his 22-year-old wife
celebrated the birth of a baby boy who, coincidentally, had Down’s
"The only advice we got from
everyone was to ‘put John away and get on with our lives.’ We were
young, in love and John was otherwise perfectly healthy, so we weren’t
about to ‘put him away.’ How times have changed for the
Encouraging parents of children with
handicaps to bring them all home has become a lifelong mission for
him, and he has made it a point to help them with his own expertise
— the law.
Being the good graduate from Yale
University, after John’s birth he first attempted to research the
genetic disease. "In 1963, I found one book at the UW-Milwaukee
library and I still remember the title: ‘Mystery Disease’ by
Since then the Stockings have learned a
great deal about it and gone on to have five more perfectly healthy
children. "A Down’s syndrome person has 47 chromosomes as
opposed to the normal 46. The result is they can have problems
mentally, they usually develop to about the level of a 7-year-old, and
problems physically, particularly a heart valve defect."
John is typical of what parents can
expect from a Down’s syndrome child. Stocking says such people are
"very loving, predictable, and need both structure and pattern in
their lives. "Our son will not miss the time to walk and feed our
Stocking is an expert in advising
worried parents on how to care financially for their children with
handicaps. "I can’t teach them how to love a child, but I can
help relieve the worry in structuring wills and trusts for the
inevitable time when they won’t be around to care for the child who
is now an adult with needs."
Organizations Offering Therapy Programs
• Children’s Activity and Achievement Center
• Easter Seals
• Good Will
• St. Coletta’s Day School
• Curative Rehabilitation Center
• Advocates for Retarded Citizens
Free Public School Assistance
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is a law passed in the
early 1970s requiring education for children with handicaps.
Advocates for Retarded Citizens
Tips for Financial Planning
"The child can be included in financial plans; don’t cut
them out because they are incapable of handling their own finances.
There are ways to structure this. Be sure you take advantage of public
money available and don’t structure a trust in a way that can
disqualify the child from programs like Title 19. Make sure any
special needs trust you set up is managed by a caring person."