Truth be told
Truth be told
My knowledge of Down Syndrome was pretty much non existent prior to meeting Rebecca and Archie.
Sure, I was aware of the physical aspect of Down syndrome but that was where my insight into Down syndrome began and ended. As such, before meeting Archie for the first time I had a vast array questions reverberating around my head: “Would I have to treat him differently? Would I need to talk to him differently?” To name but a few.
When I did finally meet Archie what caught my attention straight away wasn’t the physical aspect of Down syndrome, but it was what a warm, welcoming and loving little boy he was. His face beamed with joy, he wanted me to watch his favourite television shows in his company all whilst pointing, laughing and blowing the largest raspberries ever.
From there it honestly felt like a special bond began to form with him. With having no children of my own, this felt the closest thing I could imagine to a parents love for a child. But I felt I was something different to him, and this is why I wanted to commit to having ink put on my body. It feels like it’s my way of setting in stone my intention to always be there for Archie, through whatever life throws at him and those around him. It’s also my hope that through my actions I might be able to help educate even one person to let them know that a person, a child, with Down syndrome is still capable of incredible things of you give them the time to express themselves in their own way. Archie has already show me a lot in these last 9 months and for that I’m happy to honour our little bond from now until the day I’m no more.
We set up Archie’s Smile about 18 months after Archie was born. There were no local active support groups at the time and after some fund raising decided to put the money towards setting something up. A place for parents and other family members to connect and support each other, the children including siblings to socialise, play and learn, and for all to access information and advice. We also fund speech and language therapy which is one area of support that needs improvement on our area. We fund 1-1 speech therapy for the children once they reach 2 years of age and the therapist is specially trained in the learning profile of children with Down syndrome so her sessions are very specific to the children’s needs and abilities. We fund annual trips offer a specific fine motor activity each week and finish each session with group carpet time. At Archie’s Smile we are a family. Everyone who attends is welcome with open arms and we are all there for each other with knowledge, experiences, a hug or a shoulder to cry on.
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