A mom’s story: My child has Down syndrome

26 September 2014

Facing challenges head-on, this mother from North West started a school for disabled kids.

“Thank heavens the doctors didn’t realise beforehand Tanya had Down syndrome or else I would really have been at a crossroads,” says Tana, a nursery school teacher of Klerksdorp in North West. “The paediatrician told me about an hour after Tanya’s (11) birth she had Down syndrome but I fell in love with her immediately.”

Tana’s biggest challenge is being strict. “She’s so adorable and isn’t naughty intentionally. And when she says, ‘Mom, I love you so much,’ it makes everything worthwhile.”

Tana already knew quite a bit about Down syndrome before Tanya was born, but their new circumstances were a bigger challenge for her husband, Heinrich. “She was also our first child and of course you have all kinds of dreams for your firstborn.”

Tana decided to face the challenge head-on and started a school for disabled children. Tanya is one of the school’s learners.

“People should never say, ‘Special parents get special children,’ or ‘You’ve been given this kind of child because you can cope with it’. It can happen to anyone. The most important thing is not to isolate your child or yourself. You’re never alone. There are always family, friends and other parents who’ll support you.”

-Mieke Vlok

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