Parents

2-year-old boy with Down syndrome recites alphabet in viral video

It takes a lot of hard work before reciting the alphabet can become rote. Just ask one particular Alabama toddler, warming millions of hearts with his adorable effort.

A video of the 2-year-old boy who has Down syndrome joyfully repeating each letter of the alphabet recited by his grandmother has been viewed more than 13 million times since being posted to social media.

“Best ABC’s I ever heard! Wait for the W,” Pam Sapp wrote in a Facebook clip that she posted Jan. 24.

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Sapp’s grandson, John David, appears to nail each letter until he reaches that tricky letter W. He’s momentarily stumped before figuring it out and moving on. His reaction to reaching Z is a must-see.

Sapp learned John David knew the alphabet, with a bit of help, when he paid a recent visit and was being watched by one of his aunts.

"She told me, 'He said his ABCs this morning,' and I didn't believe her," Sapp told TODAY. "So I sat him on my lap and had him do it again."

She videotaped the exchange, turning the camera around so John David could watch himself on her phone as he recited the alphabet.

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"He just loves watching himself. But I think what really has resonated with everyone is just the joy that he expresses, and the hope that comes with it," Sapp said. "You see how happy he is when he gets to the end, and how pleased he is knowing he could to it."

John David, who was born eight weeks premature, has been working on his alphabet through books he reads with his mother, Hannah Sapp Marlin, who said she has been overwhelmed by the huge outpouring of support her family has received.

"I hope this provides encouragement to any mother out there that may find their child has any kind of delays. There's hope and there's also help," she told TODAY. "Early intervention has played a big role in achieving his milestones."

Marlin also thanked viewers in a Facebook post where she said she hopes her son's joy can provide comfort to current and future parents of children with special needs.

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“Since the day John David was born, he has been the biggest blessing our family could have ever asked for. And now the Lord is working in so many wonderful ways with John David’s video, and seeing comments like this are exactly what I'm hoping for from all of this,” Marlin wrote in a Facebook post.

“To hopefully help any expecting mom that may be having a child with Down syndrome to not be afraid or worried. But to see the great joy and ability in disability! I'm so blessed to call this one mine, and to now be able to share him and his amazing personality with so many people all over the world!”

Follow TODAY.com writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.

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