Derek was born 10 years ago with Down’s Syndrome. It was a total surprise to the young family. He struggled with weight gain, developmental delays and generalized weakness, typical issues of children with Down Syndrome. His family has always been very proactive in his care. He quickly was enrolled in therapy sessions and yoga. Derek suffered frequent ear infections and wheezing episodes, there were many times that he nearly had to be hospitalized because of this. But because of his parents always responding quickly to his needs and diligent follow up these were frequently avoided. One of the most difficult times for him was transitioning to school. Many times, people’s misinformation or prejudice made it difficult for him in school. Still he learned how to sign, and slowly started to speak. He was frequently told he could not participate nor do certain activities or class work, though he was quite capable. His parents continued to advocate for him in the classroom.
As a result of Derek’s and his parents’ efforts, he has succeeded in being mainstreamed in a regular classroom! That is quite an accomplishment for a child with Down’s syndrome!
Derek loves sports: he swims and plays basketball and soccer. He comes to our office showing off his homework to us! He is very proud of his accomplishments. Recently, the school related this story to the parents: One of the older children in the school was badgering him. The child was making fun of how he spoke. The child then asked: why do you speak so funny? Derek turned around with a smile said: “Because I have Down Syndrome.” This statement truly can exemplify how far Derek has come.
The Medical Staff of the Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center are very proud of Derek and we enthusiastically nominate him as our HERO OF THE MONTH!