Donna Layne tells us about her son, Darrion and one of his recent achievements, learning to brush his teeth independently, nice one Darrion!
We found out that Darrion had Down syndrome postnatally. Shocked as you can imagine, I (mum) cried for a week and went through what seemed like a grieving process. Within 24 hours I had so many negative thoughts such as he may never have a wife, kids, a career, reach milestones or go to a mainstream school etc, the list was endless. I had no real clue about what to expect or how amazing Darrion would be.
With that in mind we decided that we were not going to do anything different with Darrion than we had done with our older two children, now 16 and 22. We were against any groups etc, feeling that they would possibly provide us with a platform for making excuses for him not achieving milestones or doing as well as his peers maybe?
Three years on and I am amazed at how many of my fears were unnecessary and how informative and helpful I find groups such as WCAT. If nothing else just for clarification that I am not going mad or not the only one dealing with a situation (such as feeling like I am wrestling with the hulk to brush his teeth or raising a professional at shot put with his constant throwing LOL).
When it comes to teeth Darrion has his own unique way of doing things, we find encouraging and adhering to that helps and causes less stress for mum and dad of course. So first the towel goes down for mess caused when he splashes his face or rinses, he then has a musical brush that he holds and brushes with (now may I add after 6 months of persevering), and we have the brush that we help him with.
It’s then onto the finger brush for his tongue that he cheekily pokes out at you to brush, finished off with lots of praise and a thank you for brushing his teeth so well (considering the palaver when we started LOL).
We also have a great dentist who has allowed Darrion to go to all family appointments just for a sit in the chair and little look at his teeth since he was 6 months old, not for any particular reason other than we did not want it to be a scary place for him. We wanted him to have the visual of us all having check-ups as we felt that this preparation from an early age may be easier then attempting to explain the process through conversation given issues we were aware he may have with speech and hearing etc.
I am now incredibly pleased that we had a postnatal rather than prenatal diagnosis and that we had the chance to just enjoy our pregnancy, meet him and learn as we go with all the negativity out there. While it may take him a little longer than his peers, he is reaching all his milestones in his way just fine! He’s staying our baby that bit longer and teaching me not to stress the little things because they will come.
Darrion really has changed our family for the better and the perspectives of all who know him.