Flo’s Story, by her mum, Vic
The moment I gave birth to Flo and I took my first look at her, I knew she had Down Syndrome. It was a shock, but I knew I loved her deeply, from the first moment I saw her. She is my special gift, the child I never thought I would have.
The paediatrician that came to speak to us , within the first few hours of having Flo, looked sad and disappointed for us. He spoke in a quiet, apologetic tone, telling me that my baby was likely to have significant disabilities. He said she might not talk, might not walk and would likely have a pronounced developmental delay. His words were not celebratory, not kind, not encouraging, not loving.
He painted a bleak picture of a life with a child that would, most likely, be a huge burden… Thankfully, this was a picture that I knew in my heart was untrue, and I refused to believe it. When I was a teenager, I had had the privilege of working with Craig, a young man with DS, who was beautiful. He was a smiley, loving, hilarious bundle of warmth and joy. He lit up the room with his smile and engaging presence.
This was the image I chose to hold onto. I decided, there and then, that I would do everything I could to help and support Flo’s development. I learnt Makaton, joined an online early years education course, bought books, joined forums and most importantly made a concerted effort to meet other mum’s. Together, we formed our own little support group.
My wonderful little Flo is now two and a half years old. She crawled at 13 months, she walked at 17 months. She is a whirlwind of constant energy and enthusiasm. She loves to run and climb and dance and sing. She has learnt over 100 Makaton signs to communicate with. She is on a par developmentally with her peers in many areas, and has made good friends at nursery.
She is a determined, cheeky, joyful soul, who loves nothing more than engaging strangers with her smile, her hugs and her cheeky antics. She loves an audience; she wants to entertain and make you laugh and my goodness she does that in abundance! The sombre and cheerless picture that was painted to me, after Flo’s birth, couldn’t be further from the truth. Our lives are enriched by Flo and her warm, entertaining and joyful character. I have been truly blessed to have her and I absolutely wouldn’t change a thing about her. She is perfect to me.