So yesterday Mini had her Little Owls group for toddlers between the ages of 12 and 24 months where the kids benefit from Speech & Language Therapy through songs, puppets and toys in the local Early Intervention Centre. There was tea and coffee afterwards for the parents while the nurses and therapists looked after the little ones. It’s hoped that this “Coffee Morning” will become something of a regular feature in the future and was facilitated by a social worker who asked us what we were looking to get out of these meetings.
One mum suggested it could be a time where we could swap tips, another suggested that it could be a place where we could share positive stories about our little ones’ accomplishments. At which point, the social worker piped up “What about the negative ones, it’s important not to forget those too.”
Now this really got my wick. Since Mini’s birth the one thing that has annoyed, frustrated and at times dismayed me is the negativity surrounding Down Syndrome. Yes, the news of the diagnosis comes as a major shock but once your child has no immediate health issues, you adapt. And if he or she does require extra medical attention, be it cardiac or other, you adapt to that too. So our little ones are never going to be President of Ireland or get 600 points in the Leaving but guess what? Those with Down Syndrome continue to lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives every day, around the globe. In a recent poll conducted by physicians at the Down Syndrome Programme in Children’s Hospital Boston, 99% of people with Down Syndrome said that they are happy with their life. 97% say they like who they are. *
How many people without any syndromes do you know who can hand on heart say the same?
I’m not trying to say that parents shouldn’t allow themselves to feel down about the cards life has dealt them and their little one but they shouldn’t let it consume their thoughts. A little positivity can go a long way! So what’s with the near constant negativity? I have tried to broach this subject with the social workers before but have been dismissed amidst claims that I am in denial and am being too optimistic about the situation. This last one kills me because those who are close to me know I am a glass half empty kinda gal!
Here’s what I do know-
1. My little girl has Down Syndrome.
2. There is nothing I can do about this.
3. I can either wallow in grief for the loss of a ‘normal’ child and her life or
4. I can accept her for what she is and move on and we can have fun together. It won’t always be easy but then no raising of a child is without some worry or strife.
I know what works for me.