Patrick is, in many ways, a typical 4 year old boy. He likes Transformers and superheroes, has to get to places either on wheels or running and makes almost anything his personal climbing frame. His sister, Trudy, is very much a typical little girl but for one slight imbalance in her DNA. She has one extra 21st chromosome: Down’s Syndrome.
Having Trudy comes with its injustices and frustration but, for the most part, we are a little family unit which operates in much the same way as other family units. I want to tell their story through the incredible photos taken by a friend of ours. She has captured the normality of family life, which represents life for a lot of families of children with disabilities. It is often when we step outside the protective doors that we get the extended looks, the averted eyes, the awkward questions. Patrick and Trudy’s story will hopefully encourage more positive and understanding attitudes towards disability because, when you see life through Patrick’s eyes, Trudy is just his little sister.
But we do ask that you stick to a few general principles:
- Don’t be surprised that she can’t walk or talk yet, or that she is small for her age. She has Down’s Syndrome and this means developmental delay.
- Her name is Trudy. She is not ‘Down’s’.
- She is not always happy. She can be a pain sometimes.
- Patrick and Trudy are our children and our pride and joy.
Please click on the pictures below to find out what we have learned about early development of children with learning disabilities from our own experiences of Trudy, but also from our professional experiences of teaching. It has been informed by colleagues and parents, and includes information about intervention in the early years. I hope a lot of it will be helpful for any child, as there is a lot that children like Trudy can teach us about taking our time and appreciating the smaller things in life.
Photos by Jo Tennant Photography