This is Alice: our lovely, funny, chatty 13-year-old daughter!
When Alice was born, we were shocked to discover that she had Down syndrome. We left the hospital very unsure of what the future would hold for us all. Despite being a very good weight at birth, we soon found out that Alice had a large hole in her heart. At 4 months old she had life-saving surgery. The change in her afterwards was incredible and she was well enough to leave hospital in just a week. It did take longer for her to reach many of the childhood milestones but, as a result, we appreciated them so much more. As time went on, we saw that Alice had developed a very positive outlook on life, only ever seeing the good in people and taking delight in the smallest of pleasures.
Alice loves all her activities and before lockdown she enjoyed horse riding, tennis, swimming, karate, skiing and drama - so it was very hard when these suddenly stopped. However, thanks to a few excellent support groups, she has been able to do some fantastic online sessions which have helped to maintain both her fitness levels and social contact with other young people. As well as keeping up with schoolwork as much as possible, the time at home was a good opportunity to work on Alice’s independence and core skills. She also enjoyed having more time to do such things as baking cakes, playing games, sowing seeds, cycling, colouring and hours and hours of reading, her favourite activity. In common with so many other families, lockdown forced us to slow down and appreciate the truly important things in life. Family hugs were essential during this time! Finally, things started to return to a new kind of normal and Alice was excited to return to school in September.
We can’t imagine our lives without Alice and if we had known when she was born how amazing she would be and how much happiness she would bring, we need not have worried quite so much!
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