‘Kids with Down Syndrome can do well, if given right exposure’
Down Syndrome is a lifelong condition. But with care and support, such children can grow up to have healthy, happy, productive lives.lucknow Updated: Mar 21, 2018 15:20 IST
Rishima will be 13 years old this April. Ask her parents about her achievements and they have a long list to narrate.
“She is an avid reader. Her selection of books in the library leaves the librarian amazed. She writes short stories, can play the keyboard and sings her favourite Bollywood numbers with the right lyrics. She even loves sports and wants to be a teacher,” says Bhavna Srivastava, Rishima’s mother.
- Down syndrome is a set of physical and mental traits caused by a gene problem that happens before birth. Children who have Down Syndrome tend to have certain features, such as a flat face and a short neck.
- They also have some degree of intellectual disability. This varies from person to person. But in most cases, it is mild to moderate.
- Down Syndrome is a lifelong condition. But with care and support, such children can grow up to have healthy, happy, productive lives.
- Down Syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which a person is born with an extra chromosome. Chromosomes contain hundreds, or even thousands, of genes.
- Genes carry the information that determines your traits (features or characteristics passed on to you from your parents). With Down Syndrome, the extra chromosome causes delays in the way a child develops, mentally and physically.
- I always tell parents to focus on the strengths of the child. I tell them to use these strengths to overcome weakness of the child. Given the right care and nurturing, the kid is sure to do well. --Surabhi Kapoor, principal, DOSTI
Rishima is a child with Down Syndrome. But her progress has been so good that she now studies with normal children in Class 6.
“The credit goes to the dedication of parents. The school alone couldn’t have ensured such growth in Rishima’s personality had her parents not devoted time and energy and worked hard with her,” says Surabhi Kapoor, principal, DOSTI (a wing of Study Hall Educational Foundation meant for special children).
“She was only a few days when we came to know that she was a child with Down Syndrome. Doctors said everything in her life would be slow and growth would be only till eight years. The news came as a shocker. But we soon accepted the fact and got down to giving the best to Rishima,” says Alok Srivastava, a charted accountant and Rishima’s father.
“Being with normal children has helped her a lot. She may not be on par with the other children in academics, but socially she is improving a lot,” says Bhavna, her mother.
Rishima isn’t the only one. Rishi Agarwal, 15, another child with Down Syndrome, regularly spends time in his father’s office after school. He learns office work and assists his father in every possible way.
To ensure that Rishi gets the right care and upbringing, his mother Manisha Agarwal did a course on special education and is currently serving as a teacher in DOSTI, where Rishi studies.
“I did not know what Down Syndrome was till my child was diagnosed with it. But today, I know that children with this syndrome have feelings, love and emotions like other normal children. They too have their interests and inclinations and often can do exceedingly well in some areas, if given the right exposure,” says Manisha.
Dr Bhavna Singh, mother of Sahil, 21 (who also has Down Syndrome), is preparing to be a teacher of special children and is already a sports coach for normal children in a school.
She says, “Sahil always wanted to be a police officer. On his 21st birthday in January, we decided to give him a surprise. We requested the police to allow him to assist them as a police officer for a day and they agreed. Sahil wore the police uniform and did patrolling and other tasks with the police at the PGI police station.”
Dr Bhavna said the cooperation of the police made Sahil really happy. “We need similar cooperation from the society. We urge the society to accept such children and bring them cheer,” she emphasises.