I learnt about Down syndrome first hand during my first year of university. I was working with a child with Down syndrome during my work experience. At first, it was scary and I felt devastated. After getting to know the kid, I learned that he was no different than any other child with intellectual difficulties. To my greatest surprise, he improved quickly and learned a lot. It made me wonder how far we could go. I had my doubts when he did not get things the first time around, but he taught me that as long as I continued to teach him, he would continue to learn.
This experience, coupled with my work on a project about creative thinking (where we tried to teach physics to grade 1 students), taught me that too often we limit kids by our expectations. If we allow them to move forward at their own pace, they will exceed our highest expectations.
This week, I received this video about an extraordinary guy with Down syndrome. When I watched it, it made me want to cry. I remembered that first kid with Down syndrome from my first year at university. It made me wonder what was happening with him. I never saw him after those six months of work experience. I hope he is doing amazing things, much like this guy.
Congratulations to this guy’s parents. Just look what supportive and courageous parents can achieve. It is amazing what your children will achieve if you let them set their own pace. I hope you are inspired as much as I was.