Attitude can make a difference

October 24, 2008 at 12:23 pm 3 comments

I met a government official the other day whose story touched me so much that I felt the need to write about it (the reason for not mentioning his name is that i believe he and his family are entitled to their privacy).

This gentleman told us that he used to be like most people in this world – carefre and friendly but to a large extent self-centred. Everything was viewed from a perspective of “how will this affect me?” So whether it was related to work, travel, entertainment, purchasing of goods, socializing etc, it was all seen from his own vision of what he considered to be of value, what he considered interesting and what made him happy.

So naturally when his child was born and he was told that the child had Down Syndrome, he looked up at the sky and said “Why me God? What have I done that you have given me such a child?” For 3 days he didn’t sleep – all he did was cry and feel sorry for himself. Then something happened. He doesn’t know how or why these thoughts or feelings entered his mind but they did, almost like magic.

He looked at the child and felt a feeling of tenderness and protectiveness engulf him. He thought to himself – all my life I have never had to take care of another human being. This is the first opportunity I have been given to come out of my self-absorbed nature and do something for someone else – for this new life that has been gifted to me. I should consider myself very lucky (no, for those cynics out there, I am not making this up- it is absolutely true).

From that day forward the child and he became inseparable. He did everything for him, shared every free moment with him, made sure that he got as much of his attention and his love as possible. He was surprised that doing this actually brought him a kind of joy he had never felt before. Selflessness did do something special for the soul.

Many of us may have seen people with Down Syndrome. They have certain physical features, such as a flatter face,  slanted eyes,  a larger tongue. They could also have medical problems like heart defects. And they usually have some mental challenges, which means they may have trouble learning.

Regardless of these challenges, kids with Down syndrome can go to regular schools, make friends, enjoy life, and get jobs when they’re older – if proper care is provided.

This gentleman’s child has bloomed because of the love and attention that has been showered on him. The concentration on teaching him reading, learning and comprehension skills is likely to result in articulation and speech fluency, visual and verbal short-term memory skills and the ability to use longer sentences than most other children with Down syndrome who are often neglected by their parents or seen as a punishment for unknown sins committed by them during their own lifetimes.

It’s wonderful what the difference in the attitude of parents can make to the development of a child with any kind of challenges – in fact to the development of any child. Time and again we have seen this in children with autism and children with physical or visual challenges or a child who is especially gifted and does not fit into a mould that we call “normal”.

Something worth noting is that children with Down Syndrome have been known to take to computers with a passion. They have been seen to perform better in thinking games like Zoombinis. Since many may have smaller hands, a smaller mouse is a great help.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Attitude can make a difference | Tea Break  |  October 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

  • 2. communicall  |  October 25, 2008 at 7:26 am

    @Jehan: It’s wonderful what the difference in the attitude of parents can make

    It is even more wonderful what a change in attitude can do for any ordinary person. We regard (and we use the term in a professional context) as people charged with looking after others as ‘care-givers’.

    What a phrase! What kind of human can be whole without any sense of care for others?

    Having one’s own child awaken that sense is a wonderful thing: another wonderful thing is to find “a feeling of tenderness and protectiveness engulf” oneself through really seeing another being, especially when that person is ‘different’. I can vouch that it takes away the sense of pejorative, that the word ‘different’ otherwise carries.

  • 3. palsy paralysis  |  November 16, 2008 at 1:52 am

    palsy paralysis…

    Anna testifies to the benefits of behavior modification in breaking through the barriers of autism to establish communication with her daughter. The key: early diagnosis and intervention. A child who is not fortunate to have a parent as determined as A…


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