Many schools turned her down, but Luca’s settled

2016-02-16 06:00
Luca Muller (7) has Down syndrome and is settling in well at her mainstream school.

Luca Muller (7) has Down syndrome and is settling in well at her mainstream school.

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Luca Muller (7) from Heathfield has Down syndrome but it’s not bringing her down.

The bubbly, friendly girl just started Grade 1 at Yeshua Christian Primary School, which is a mainstream school. She is the first child with a disability to be accepted at the school.

Luca’s family is over the moon that the school was willing to take the plunge with them.

People’s Post previously reported on her mother Katrina Muller’s campaign Running for Luca to raise awareness about Down syndrome. (“Perfect in imperfection”, 5 May 2015).

“When I gave birth to Luca and I saw that she had Down syndrome, I thought to myself I should do something. I needed a platform where I could do something for her because I couldn’t help her with the condition, but I wanted something done. I have been a runner for years so I thought I would start Running for Luca to raise awareness. Doing it really made me feel better. I wanted my child to live a normal life. I wanted people to know that there was such a thing and they shouldn’t shy away and keep their children indoors. I have always wanted the best for Luca.”

School is also learningMuller also says it hasn’t been an easy road, but everything is working out perfectly.

“It took a lot of preparation and workshops for almost a year to get her and everyone else to be ready for her to start school. I’m really glad that they were willing to try it out and see how it goes. I don’t know how many schools I called for placement – no-one was willing to even listen when I mentioned Down syndrome.

“However, at Yeshua they opened their arms to her. They were willing to learn as much as we were trying it out as well by sending her to a mainstream school.

“At the moment she has a facilitator helping her out here and there, but she is doing very well. Most of all the other kids made it easy for her to adapt. I remember when I dropped her at school on the first day their reception was amazing. I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it. They were all drawn to her ... took her and went to play. They just made it easy for me to leave her there,” she says.

Muller adds that there is more to learn from each other. “Luca has life lessons for them. They will learn compassion, caring, sharing. She can also learn from them how things are done in class.

“In fighting for Luca and all this running I want to tell everyone that it can be done. Children with Down syndrome are capable of living a normal life. Though they might need a little help here and there, they are still capable of living a normal life, just like anyone else, and that’s what we wanted for Luca. That’s what we want for every other child out there,” she says.

Muller’s wish is that more children with Down syndrome are integrated in normal society.

“People have to know about them. I’m really grateful that the school was willing to try. They are a small school and I know Luca will get all the attention she needs.

“They are trying to add more classrooms at the school and it will be really nice for people to help. Because they have opened up their hands, we can also help them,” she says.

With World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March Muller is calling on runners for Running for Luca and parents and children with Down syndrome to come together and raise awareness.

V Readers who want to join Running for Luca or who need help with their children can contact Muller on 082 327 7404 or or visit the Running for Luca-Down Syndrome is beautiful page on Facebook.

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