A year ago about this time, schools were reopening….for me and my two children. This post is about my son so let me limit all the details to and about him.
Kofi was born with Down syndrome in 2013. After a year of many struggles, including the struggle to find a school that will take him in so I can go back to work full time, we finally found a school through a referral from Down Syndrome International, a UK-based NGO that works for and with individuals with Down syndrome, we got a school for him in the month he was to turn one year old.
Multikids Inclusive Academy did not only provide the environment for teaching and learning, but they provided all the therapy he needed (physio, speech, occupational, hydro and music and dance). As is typical with individuals with Down syndrome, Kofi’s love for music and dance were always a notch above the average.
In December 2018 during the holidays, I was so burdened to find something for him to do that is constructive and can lead to the acquisition of functional life skills. As usual, I resorted to googling about supervised interactive programs for kids on weekends….there were quite a few but not what I was looking for because the focus of the ones I found was more on academic stuff.
That same day, I was browsing my newsfeed on facebook and came across a sponsored page on Vivies Dance Factory, calling for enrollment of students in the various dance programs. Yes, I immediately called the number provided and spoke with the admistrator.
She was not only pleasant but also patient in responding to all my queries. Kofi met the enrollment requirement of age (5), interest (high on both our parts) and ability to pay the fees.
So I had to disclose that he has Down syndrome….and she said, ‘we can take him’. Ladies and gentlemen, this was over the phone so I thought to myself, ‘did she hear me’?
I repeated my earlier statement that Kofi has Down syndrome, and may require extra help with patience to learn the routines and everything, and again, she said, ‘mummy, don’t worry, we can take him’ and take him they did. I wanted him to take the pre-ballet classes but when we went for the trials, he was non-responsive in that class, so we tried the petit acro and he loved it immediately! He and the instructor clicked right away….and the rest they say, is history.
The benefits of dancing to children/individuals with special needs include the ability to express emotions, increased physical fitness and gross motor skills development, improved confidence and self-esteem, encouraging creativity and imagination as well as serving as stress reliever (yes, individuals with special needs also get stressed) – http://www.disabilityresource.org/29-top-five-advantages-of-dance-therapy
I am happy I knocked on the door of Vivies Dance Factory and extremely excited that they opened their doors and welcomed us and including my son totally. Kofi is six years old, has been with Vivies Dance Factory for about eight months (not counting the vacation periods) and he has had two professionally directed stage performances (the National Theatre and the Afua Sutherland Drama Studio respectively), remembering his moves and routines perfectly!
I cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for this little man who is shattering all the stereotypes that came with his diagnosis.
Thanks for reading, Happy new year to you and yours. No matter how many doors has already been shut in your face, don’t give up, knock on the next door, what do you have to loose? Absolutely nothing but so much more to gain if it opens….