“We had just found out that we were pregnant. Conscious of our family and older son, Alexander, we wanted to prepare for all eventualities so we decided to have the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) and a week later we received the results.
They had detected something and said it was highly likely that George had Down syndrome. It was only later that we realised that, yes, it can be a big thing, but at the same time, it just might not be. We found that because it’s categorised as a genetic ‘abnormality’ some people have a really negative response.
We asked lots of frank questions and it was only through that did we realise that this was OK. It wasn’t the end of the world; he’s just a baby. He’s our baby.
In hindsight, we’re really glad we found out before he was born as it gave us time to prepare and learn about Down syndrome. There were so many tests and appointments but through Sunshine & Smiles, we were able to attend a couple of the 0-3 year old sessions.
It made us more familiar with what was going to happen and got us over some of our worries and fears. We even went on summer trips and spoke to parents. It’s like a special club here and it’s lovely, we all have something in common. This is our family now and we couldn’t be happier.”
Sunshine & Smiles supports children and young people with Down syndrome in Leeds. Their aim is to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome. With support from Leeds Community Foundation they have been able to offer a variety of activities such as support groups for new parents and develop their own social enterprise, Cafe 21, which gives young adults with Down syndrome the opportunity to gain work experience, customer service skills and learn about working in a hospitality environment.