“When she first went to icandance she wanted to join in, but for a long time she couldn’t do it. She just watched and waited….
… She didn’t see herself as part of the group.
She didn’t see herself as a dancer.”
If Georgia wants to tell you something, she says it as a question, so you can confirm it. That makes it real.
There was so much confusion, looking back. We were pursuing answers as though diagnosis was a holy grail – as though it was going to clarify and transform things.
Elizabeth loves painting. I think what links painting to icandance is not being judged... It’s exhausting, the struggle our children have to put up, just to get by. We underestimate the energy and focus required.
We used to feel guilty about her not having peer groups, but now she’s 23, and this is who she is. This is Elizabethness.
At icandance I learned to be a mentor.
I can dance. I can help. Also I can create.
Kimberley used to watch Jennifer Lopez on the computer, then she’d close the door and dance for hours. She was always dancing. In the sitting room, in the kitchen − always dancing.
We never go out much, not even for a walk. It’s different in the Philippines. Everyone knows each other there; the door is always open. We’re free as a birds there.
When Kimberley was born, I didn’t know about Down’s Syndrome. The nurse said, “Oh, it will take time. It’s a long life for you.”
My image of a child with Down’s Syndrome was: elderly parents, fusty kids in old-fashioned clothes . . . Would I dress him in fusty clothes or funny old home-knitted jumpers? (Laughs) Talk about being defined.
How about a costume change?
Josh tends to gravitate towards mainstream kids and while that can be a good thing, it can leave him at a disadvantage. icandance puts things into perspective.
She loves dressing up and icandance gives her that outlet. She wants to be a dress designer. She brought me her drawings and said, do you think they’d like to use my costume designs? Costumes are her passion.
I saw the gap widening between Ellis and her classmates. I went to the local special school and I thought that’s not my child; my child doesn’t belong here . . . And then I was like, No, actually this is my child. This is where she needs to be.
I remember the first show and Ellis jumping hoop to hoop. All the parents were so involved and we were all clapping and cheering our kids, each others kids, and just the warmth in the room and the complete acceptance . . . it was just wonderful.
Victor has never been a child who would interact with another child. He likes to observe. So, going to icandance ….he is, in some way, led to do it. Even holding hands for one second with his partner . . . at school they don’t focus on that.
Since I had Victor, I haven’t known any other life than looking after him. So, it’s very difficult to say, you know, ‘what if?’ Would our lives be different or better? I don’t know.
In my book there are only two options: you try to help and develop and improve or you just give up.