Hi my name is Helen and I have 4 children Adam 28, Charlotte 26, Tashie my amazing daughter 21 and James 19.
I became pregnant with my 3rd child Tashie in early 1998, in those days tests were not offered to those under 35 unless you paid. I was 30 and didn’t give DS a second thought and didn’t have any testing
Tash was born in September 1998 at Winchester hospital. Post term diagnosis. Maybe we were better off in those days with less choice.
In those days we had no Facebook or other social media platforms. The hospital had one small paper leaflet left there by a local midwife who had a daughter with Down syndrome on which she had written her telephone number . I had to leave the leaflet and write down the number.
After a few weeks I had the courage to phone her and we started ‘ups and downs a small local support group.
As it’s such a long story, will cut short. Luckily we had no health issues.
Tash went to the local pre school and then on to the local mainstream infants School. Inclusion was very new so we all kind of bumbled along learning together. There were those moments when I would dread the doors opening at the end of the day as Tash wouldn’t put her coat on or something but we made it through. We agreed that she would repeat year 1.
Luckily our junior school has a very special ‘class 8 ‘ where they did core subjects at their own speed and went into the mainstream school for art, or etc. Eventually we had to decide about the move to senior school. We decided on the local mainstream Crestwood, if she hadn’t liked it then we would have looked into moving. Anyway we made it through and she even got pass grades in 5 gcse, Inc English lit, art and food science ( cookery in my day!). She exceeded everyone’s expectations. I will admit, including my own.
We are now on an Independence course at our local college.
She has a large friendship group, a boyfriend and we even leave them at the cinema and Nandos on a date as they don’t want mum there.
I’m not saying it’s been an easy journey and we have no idea what will happen after college as there is no funding for anything these days but it has been and is still hugely rewarding. Her brothers and sisters all say they are far better people because of Tash.
Tash is just the best teacher of life there is ❤❤.