By Simone Delochan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today is World Down Syndrome Day and we hope that you are wearing your brightly coloured socks with pride!
The UN-declared Day was established in 2012 and the theme this year is Leave no one behind. All people with Down Syndrome (DS) must have opportunities to live fulfilling lives, included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society.
We chatted with mom Corinna about Tosh (IN PHOTO), her beautiful ten-year-old son with DS. “He brings so much joy, jokes and laughter”, she said. “Every day there’s hugs and love.”
Corinna found out he had DS within hours of his birth and felt mild surprise, but she had had previous exposure as her niece also has DS.
The one characteristic a parent of a DS child must have is patience (which really, is a valuable characteristic for any parent!), recognising that the milestones of development will happen later. Potty training took two years, and celebrations also occurred when he began to feed and dress himself. It teaches you to slow down, she commented.
Tosh is enrolled in the mainstream education system here in Trinidad, although not with a class that matches his chronological age, and is happy in school. He is embraced by his schoolmates, and because he is immersed in the system, the school community has an understanding of him.
The level of applause he gets, for example, when receiving awards is far different in warmth and volume than the other award recipients. She has noticed that people with no exposure are uncertain how to respond to him. It’s never anything “mean” just simply interacting with a person with DS was not a part of their experience.
What are some things people should be aware of? Firstly, that people with DS are always happy is a myth. They do have feelings and are certainly aware when someone is “not cool with them”: “They are people like you and me, and it’s definitely not a pity thing…Tosh brings so much to my life.”
At the end of the day, it all goes back to that one all-encompassing thing: LOVE! So wear your socks with pride. Wear three for that third chromosome!