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!
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.
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