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The Dodd Family - Lucy
 

We as many parents are very proud of both our children and their achievements but in particular we wanted to celebrate and share with others Lucy’s achievements.  Lucy has just turned five and has Down Syndrome.   Recently Lucy performed in two dance shows, completing two dances in each show at our local dance school.  She has been going to ballet since she was 3 years old and we would have never believed that she would have performed in front of all the people at the show.  She was the ‘Belle of the Ball’ even with a few tears in the middle of her dance because she could not see mummy and her crown falling off.  Everyone was talking about her and how well she did!

 

We would like to say a big thank you to Sandra Fleming (her ballet teacher) and Granny Pat for their continued support of Lucy, and for their belief that she can do it!  Special people are vital to enable children like Lucy to have fun and be themselves.

Lucy loves to dance and has great natural rhythm often putting on our music system and dancing with her sister, you cannot help but smile.  She looked beautiful in her Lilac Tutu, crown and wand and enjoyed the finale of the show, ‘Grease Lightening’ wearing the ballet school’s uniform.  Not only did they look great they performed wonderfully!

Our journey to this point has been an eventful one, but all the more worthwhile and rewarding. Initial sessions at ballet were quite difficult, although Lucy wanted to go to lessons, separating from mummy was a problem and then when she did she seemed to have a tendency to run off to the toilets which held a great fascination.  Sandra suggested a bit of a break from lessons, so for a while we did.  Then one day some months later, whilst waiting for her sister, Lucy decided that she was going to join in and then there was no stopping her.  We have not looked back since.

 

It would have been quite easy at the point of the break to have said that ballet was too hard for her, but because she had made her own very determined mind up to return I ran with it.  I still question myself, would we have returned to ballet if we had not been going with her sister. I am not sure we would have done considering the initial attempts and difficulties.

 

But I am so glad we did, we are all so proud of Lucy’s ability to learn to walk on tiptoes and to skip to music. We celebrated these small steps when others take them for granted.  Both of these physical tasks are difficult when you are low toned, hyper-mobile and find balance difficult as many children with Down Syndrome do.  But ballet has helped to develop Lucy’s posture, body awareness, balance and co-ordination.  Her self confidence and sense of own pride has increased dramatically.  Very different from the little girl who found her school Christmas play too much, exiting off the front of the stage to sit on our laps.

 

Often parents of a child with Down Syndrome are told many stereotypical comments “they will get there eventually, just a bit slower.”  Yet time and time again we the parents make comparisons around developmental milestones, speech and behaviour and if we are all honest, feel a little sad or deflated with what professionals say and what we can see for ourselves. However our message is one hope and success, of a ‘Can Do Attitude’ of not lowering your expectations but compromising them slightly in terms of approach and time.  To offer our children all the opportunities that siblings and other children have.  By being prepared for things to take a little longer, to understand when there are difficulties, to think creatively around problems and to seek out those people in the community that are willing to give things ago.

 

Lucy has altered our lives dramatically, we have wept and we have laughed, she has brought us so much joy.  Life will never be routine or without its challenges but Lucy approaches them all with a smile and that stubborn determination.   Down Syndrome should not limit opportunity and it should not define who someone is or is not.  Our job as parents, as with any child is to give them the chance to spread their wings and fly.  

 

Donna and Justin Dodd, very proud parents.

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KWDSG is affiliated to the Down Syndrome Association.
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