When a child is diagnosed with Down syndrome, their parents would be shocked, disappointed or sad. But the reality of living with Down syndrome can be quite different. Jill, the mother of an 8 year old with Down syndrome shows. Here Jill tells us about day-to-day life with George.
Tell us a little bit about your son Our son George is nearly 9. He is a cheerful and happy person in general and enjoys things like drawing and art. Sometimes he also loveds walking around the garden. He now goes to a school where people are treating him right and providing education. He is just like an average kid. He travels to school by bus and is a good guy. :)
When and how was diagnosed with this condition? It was recognised right at birth, and we were told by the doctor. At first we didn't recognise any signs. Giving us the news was very hard for the doctors, and , I don't think they were as well prepared to tell. But we had wonderful support from family and friends, and people around us. At first we went for a test to check but there were no defects.
How did you feel when you found out that George had Down syndrome? It was very unexpected news, as it is for most parents, we were totally unprepared, and didn't know what to do at that time. It almost felt like a physical blow. We had a lovely little boy, who in the end had a disorder.
How has the illness change over time? It hasn't changed much... when he was younger he used to have weird habits such as waking up in the middle of the night then going back to sleep..that kind of thing. He still does it but it has reduced.
What sort of treatment have you tried? There is no treatment that will make the Down syndrome go away. But we took him to the down syndrome support group to help him to communicate and develop certain behaviours . It gave us the confidence because we knew that it would be good for him. We also have been monitoring on his health, especially his hearing and sight.
He will continue to need support throughout his life, and we would certainly like to see more supports offered in the community, and by the governments.We will try to provide him with opportunities just like other kids so that he lives a normal life.
And how have the rest of your family responded to having a member with Down syndrome? Mostly they have been a wonderful support, and have fallen in love with him just as we did, although the diagnosis was a huge shock to them all as well. My parents and siblings were our greatest support from the early days, emotionally and practically. His cousins and friends welcome him to make sure he feels comfortable.
Do you have any regrets? I would not change anything - unless he wanted to, and I don't know that he does. He seems to be comfortable in his skin. George knows that he has down syndrome and a 'disability' but he is still carries on just like everyday and is proud of who he is.