Victory Over Down Syndrome And Other Intellectual Disabilities: A Facilitators Story
My name is Nozuko Portia Mayedwa and I am a Domestic Services Assessor at the Port Elizabeth I Can! Academy. I have three children, including a 5 year old son with Down syndrome, Akhanya. He was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was only 27 days old. I couldn’t accept his condition because I couldn’t see anything wrong with him, I saw him like any other new born baby. I was told he will not be able to talk, walk, go to toilet on his own, or even go to school.
When Akhanya was four months old I attended a support group for children with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. While I was there, I noticed that children with Down syndrome can do things, yes they have a learning challenge but they only need patience, acceptance and love. I was told that I must do exercises and teach him gross and fine motor skills. My son can walk, he is out of nappies and fully potty trained, he can speak and he can even draw a circle.
As an assessor, my bond with Akhanya enabled me to handle children with intellectual disability. If a learner is struggling with oral questions, the patience and care that I gain from my son helps me keep calm and make sure that the learner would give me a correct answer. If I don’t do that, I feel like I am giving up on my son. He is the one who is keeping me going and inspires hope that children who are intellectually disabled can learn and go further. True to the meaning of his name, Akhanya brings light, and that is why I always say I Can!