How do we as parents pick schools? Let Alone for a child living with Downs Syndrome.
I know when Lehakwe turned four I had to start thinking of pre-school or even a stimulation centre.
One thing I was certain about I wanted my Angel to attend a mainstream school.
She Literally spent only 4 days at our local stimulation centre, needless to say, I was not happy.
In the week she was there she had spent days only watching TV, she had copied the other children who had more difficulties in walking and talking more than her, and this was because classes where hardly divided to suit the children’s ability.
I then decided only mainstream school will do for my nana, I was not going to even fight the centre or question their doings.
So, what happens when you need to find a school?
Pre-school is easy if you find a facility where they are willing to help in teaching your child the basics like going to the bathroom on their own or even enabling them to eat on their own.
The principle is for you as the parent, to be honest with yourself, remember children living with Down Syndrome are slow; meaning: if his/her actual age is 6 years old he/she could be still 3 years old in terms of milestones or even growth. So, you request for your child to be put in a class that is not suitable for their age but their abilities. This way you allow your child to grow fully and not miss some developmental milestones. Never rush your child, they are unique, and they will reach the relevant level at their own pace.
As I always say: Research, Research and Research!!!
Find out from the Department of Education how they can help you, contact Down Syndrome South Africa and even better set aside an educational plan for your child.
Also, as a parent find resources on academic growth to do at home, you can paint, draw and learn how to count at home it’s in your hands to help your child be at their best without the stress.
Even if she lives with Down Syndrome we dream of University and her career choice we are blown away by the thought that we could be raising Doctor Lehakwe Mphahlele.
Last word: Normalise your lives as much as you can!
Written by Kgomotso Mphahlele