“When you are told your child has Down syndrome, you make a choice. You decide you will do all you can to help your child reach his or her potential”
When you are handed your tiny little baby, and then — without you having a clue — you are told your child has Down syndrome, it’s never the news you want to hear. But you deal with it and make a choice. You decide you will do all you can to help your child reach his or her potential. You want your child to be the cleverest, most able, best-behaved kid with Down syndrome around. You do everything to help — speech classes, sensory baby groups, conductive education every week — and you happily do it because you know it’s going to help your child develop.
One day, when your baby is still very young, you are shopping in Asda, when you see a group of adults with learning disabilities and their carers. As you are looking at the magazines, you suddenly get a slap around the face from out of nowhere. You look up and see that it’s one of the women from the group who has slapped you and that her carer has no idea what has just gone on.
As a mum of a little baby, you vow that your child will never become like that woman. Your baby will grow up to be gentle, kind and compassionate. Besides, he won’t need to be going out in a group of adults with disabilities, as he’ll be living semi-independently and able to do things such as shopping, with minimal help.
You think to yourself,
I have put in so much effort and time to ensure my child will succeed and reach his potential. This scenario will never happen with my child.
But reality isn’t like that. It doesn’t work that way. You do all that you can, but there’s no guarantee that your child will be one of the able ones. You can’t predict autism, or ADHD, or health issues, or whatever.
You learn, maybe the hard way, that every person with Down syndrome is unique.
Some things just happen. And no matter how hard you try or how much time you invest, your child will be who they will be. It’s not the easiest thing to accept, but you truly have no option.
My boy is like that woman who slapped me all those years ago. He hits people in Asda, not just once, but many times. And he finds it hilarious! Thankfully, he’s not hit anyone around the face yet, but I wouldn’t put anything past him!
He’s not the high-flying kid that I thought I might be able to mould. He’s definitely not the well-behaved, compliant young man I imagined. He’s hard work and a total pain in the butt at times.
But would I change him? Never!
I love the young man he’s become, just as much as I loved that tiny baby who was placed in my arms almost fifteen years ago!
Editors Note – This article has been re-published from January 2018, from source, mum, Helen Coppins.
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