What is Down Syndrome?
There are many articles, websites and support groups on social media that can tell you the science, the facts and the up to date information of what Down Syndrome is. Here I share with you what I think it is in my own words, a mum’s opinion.
Only ten years ago I personally had never heard of Down Syndrome. When I received the diagnosis hours after Ellie was born it was met with a checklist and nothing positive. I cried, I cried not even knowing what I was crying about except I knew my daughter was disabled. The literature given to me to read was (now I know) outdated and weighed heavily towards the negative impact of ‘what could happen’ to Ellie.
You may have seen this literature yourself, you may in your own head know exactly what I am talking about; poor eyesight, heart problems, late learning, delayed speech to name a few. To read more about those earlier days do read my earlier blog. Today I wonder how other parents would feel if they got something similar, your child may grow up to be a murderer, a drug addict (you get the picture) and it was the word ‘may’ and the reason for this is all children with Down Syndrome are unique. Yes, they may have to wear glasses, but there again they may not.
I truly wish I would have seen literature that stated your daughter ‘may’ be an actress, ‘may’ become a model, ‘may’ become a public speaker. It would not have felt so scary and that is why there are many communities and charities changing this by providing new parents with positive information and educating those in the profession how to support in a positive way. A community I am part of Wouldn’t Change A Thing are making this happen and have recently published a book to support new parents.
So without the science and the facts, what does Down Syndrome mean to me, a mum ten years on and the simple answer is nothing. Ellie, my daughter, is Ellie, a young girl that enjoys music and dancing, loves her Ipad, has close friends, attends swimming and can sometimes be seen enjoying playing with her brother. I don’t see the disability or the label and whilst I can say that this wasn’t the case at the beginning, it sure is now.
To new mums and dads, however you are feeling reading this, it’s fine. Your child will grow up like everyone else and whilst I don’t want to paint a false rose-tinted picture because your child will be who they are meant to be with your love, your encouragement and your family.
To mums and dads with primary school-aged children, I hope this helps you and your children to see the person first and understand that nothing is more important to a child with Down Syndrome than being included.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and please do comment if you have learnt something from this. If you would like to get in touch with me for any Down Syndrome advice or support please do reach out here
Until Next Time