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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Down syndrome - Lets raise the expectations


OK, OK, I have to put my hand up for this one & admit I have been known to 
under-estimate Miss Chloe on maybe more then once occasion!!! 

But I do like to think I have learned from this!!!

From the day she was born, I was determined to do everything in my power to ensure she was the very best Chloe she could be (this was no different with Shannon). I was flapping around in unknown waters, but even then I was amazed at the general idea that people with Ds (Down syndrome) are incapable.


"When a person is diagnosed with carrying a baby with Ds, they are usually counseled to abort. The reasons given are bazaar to say the least: "They will never be happy, They won't ever walk, They won't ever have friends, The will never be able to toilet train, Your friends will be uncomfortable around you, They will never contribute to society. Sadly these are all regular comments.
My Pediatrician informed me Chloe would have the mental capacity of a 6 year old!"

 
I do wonder how a scan can pick up all this amazing information...When I remember - of course it can't...it is the assumptions of ignorant people (yes even many medical professionals are ignorant).

Poor old Miss Chloe has had to prove herself every inch of the way with some people.
My Pediatrician at the time told me she'd never walk....just before she walked into his room behind me..


Same goes for talking, toilet training and many other things. In the end I sacked him,
I needed a team who believed in my child - not bring her down. 

 
"I have made it a mission to seek out the people who will push Chloe and don't have low ceilings and expectations."



Chloe is a lazy person deep down and given the opportunity she is happy to park on the lounge and do very little. I don't give her the choice of staying home or going out with me.
I actually tell her "You have a right to very unhappy about coming BUT you are coming anyway". I find, once Chloe gets somewhere, her attitude changes and she starts to enjoy wherever it is.

She has a fear of failure and HATES learning anything, but as I have learnt over and over with people with Down syndrome



"You can teach them MOST things
BUT you MUST teach them EVERYTHING"

I make it a point to push her through the negativity and fear to to just break each new task into small bites. 

There is nothing that fills my heart more then seeing the look of enormous pride on that girls face when she accomplishes and conquers. 

It tells me that feeling the pull to rescue her and do it myself or to give in to her whinging or performing is absolutely the least loving thing to do for her, as the gift of enablement can only be achieved by allowing her to do for herself.

I have found that some of the worst offenders when it comes to placing low expectations on people with disabilities are the people who have been trained in disability. I actually wonder what it is in the training that has gone amiss to have sooo many people coming out with such preconceived ideas..... 

I tend to hire people completely outside the disability field to work with Chloe on things like Personal Training, swimming, creativity and many other things. They just don't seem to go in with the idea of what she can't achieve.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, I am guilty of underestimating Miss Chloe.
Every year, I set one or two new leanings to be achieved within that time-frame. Every single one of them has been learnt - not only withing the time frame BUT within weeks of us starting!!!


 ONE BIG LESSON FOR ME IS 
 "When I Believe In Some-one and teach them to do something,
I have given that person their greatest gift."

 
THE GIFT OF SELF-ESTEEM.



 
www.suedymond.com


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