The Differences Amoung Us

When our son Javier was born, I saw him as a beautiful, rosy-cheeked baby. I never imagined that the following day the doctor would tell us that he had Down Syndrome. When the doctor told us that, I was really surprised. The truth is, I had never stopped to think about the differences among us. When the doctor told us the problem that Javier had, I didn’t give it much importance. To me, he was a beautiful baby and I loved him even more. After a few days went by, I did feel frustration. I’m a person that took care of herself during my pregnancies. I didn’t smoke or drink. I ate well so that my baby would be born healthy. I always asked myself “Why are there so many people who don’t take care of themselves, and they have healthy babies, while I did take care of myself and I had a baby with Down Syndrome?” As time went by, I was more able to understand. I started speaking with positive people like Debbie and Rosemary, who are nurses from the health department. I am very grateful because they helped me a lot with their words of encouragement. Nancy, at Families Together, helped me a lot with her advice. Russell Child Development helped me with their visits, advice and in the center until Javier was 3 years old. Then High Plains started helping us. Javier was a very good boy, sweet and affectionate. He’s still the same. He always won the teachers’ sympathy and they pampered him. There is one piece of advice that I feel I can give to moms that have a child with a disability – don’t feel sorry for them. Treat them the same as any other child without a disability. Give them responsibilities when they’re young. Maybe that was my mistake. I thought that because of his disability, he was not capable of doing certain things at home. Now that he’s older and stronger, he still thinks that he doesn’t have to do anything. Thanks to the teachers that help with their daily support, we are helping him become more independent. Javier is 17 years old and a senior at Lakin High School. He’s been a very healthy boy. As far as his behavior goes, the only times we have had problems is when there are changes in the daily routine – when one day is different from another. Javier needs his days to be more or less the same and then things go more smoothly. He likes to do things in an orderly way. Javier depends a lot on people that he comes in contact with in the community. For that reason, I give thanks to God that I live in Lakin, Kansas. I am very grateful to the people here. Everyone, in one way or another, has helped us with our difficulties. When Javier goes to school, there are times when he doesn’t want to go into school. If a teacher or another student sees him and invites him to come in, his attitude changes immediately. I’m grateful to all the teachers and paras that have worked with Javier throughout the years. I don’t know what would’ve become of us. Families Together has always helped and supported us with our needs and has invited us to the workshops and presentations. Thanks to Wilma, his case manager, who has helped him get his medical card and be able to have a person stay with him after school until I get home from work. I would advise the parents of a child with a disability to look for and accept the help that is offered. Be informed and let yourself be guided by the experts. Do as much as you can to advance, especially when they’re young. Now that Javier is 17, I thank God for sending him to us. I’m proud of him and thanks to him, I have learned to be more compassionate and to understand humanity better.