The doctors say:
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, and the same varies from person to person.
Then they also say:
Down syndrome is a lifelong condition. But with care and support, children who have Down syndrome can grow up to have healthy, happy, productive lives.
Ever wondered what it is like to be referred to as “Special Parents”? No? Well let me explain what my wife and I have been going through since almost 18 long years till date.
That’s true guys. I have three kids, two lovely daughters and one son, whom we all love the most; and we have ‘reasons’ for that. The youngest of his siblings, Ali is ‘very special’ to us and if you may ask why so, the answer is simple. Ali was born with Down’s syndrome. His birth left us all in a whirl of euphoria, however, within the first two weeks of his life we were fully aware of a cruel reality that the world will always meet, greet and treat Ali as a “Special Child”. The word “Special” encompasses a great meaning, although being associated with a child with needs different from the other children; this very word is altered in all sense. Raising a “Special Child” means nurturing a child who may never be able to cope up with the rapid pace of life, a child who may never be able to speak fluently, eat worldly, walk unaccompanied or may never be able to perform tasks which are required to be categorized as “normal people/children”.
I’ll be honest with you to admit that initially, my wife and I both felt pretty broken and struggled to digest the cruel reality; always thinking and worrying whether what would be our only son’s future? We couldn’t find an answer to the question whether he will ever be able to live a normal life or not? We were on the horns of a dilemma.
My eldest daughter started to talk at the age 10-months, second daughter said her first word at the age of 1 year but as for Ali; it took him nearly 3 years to clearly speak out the words every parents love to hear from their child’s mouth; the magical words ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa.’
The years went by and if Ali started to live and learn things at a very slow pace; we started to adjust with his ‘limitations,’ fearing that his IQ level may always remain close to a 4 to 5 year-old child. We started accepting the fact that people may never look at our son as an equal; he will always be treated dis-similarly, we started bearing with the fact that Ali will always be cat-called and gazed at with bewilderment wherever he goes.
Now if you’re thinking these settlements with harsh realities made us give up… you’re quite WRONG.
Ali is nearly 18 now and
- He can operate a laptop
- He can explore the browsing history to search and watch his favorite TV shows offline
- He can operate the power switches independently and knows which switch is for a fan and which one’s a light switch
- He can lock and unlock the doors, using keys
- He can even press his clothes, using electric Iron
- Ali can go to nearby shops to buy himself a pack of chips, a cold drink or a chocolate
- And above all, my son likes to play Cricket and trust me, he’s a pretty good batsman
- Legendary characters such as Imran Khan, Waseem Akram, Inzmam Ul Haq, Misbah Ul Haq and Umar Gul are among his favorite cricketers; he even recognizes several foreign players such as Lasith Malinga or Chris Gayle etc.
Ali is also attending a “Slow Learner’s School” namely ‘The Rising Sun’ whereby he’s learning few useful skills; the institute aims on making such special children useful citizens; also aims on helping them find suitable jobs in future, according to the skills they learn at the facility.