When Ann found out that her baby has Down Syndrome, her specialist asked if she still wanted to keep it. She was then handed a book called Your Mongol Baby which painted a bleak picture of how the rest of her life would be like looking after a disabled child.
“That was almost 40 years ago. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from a specialist. People were just so uninformed back then,” said Ann. “They were saying my life was going to be awful. But it became apparent very quickly that they were wrong." Ann described a life of adoring Katherine.
Ann said that Katherine was a delightful baby. Even from an early age she showed signs that she would develop a winning personality. Katherine has two other siblings but her mum thinks they can't hold a candle to her outgoing personality. Spend a few minutes with her and you’ll see a cheeky sense of humour.
Taikura Trust supports more than 650 people with Down Syndrome in Auckland. Many of which we’ve joined in their journey since they were little. We listen to tāngata whaikaha tell us what a good life is for them. It could be to create community connections, make new friends, find their way towards independence and live the way they choose. We show them and their whānau that it is possible to live a good life and that there are disability services available in their community that could help them reach their goals.
Katherine is one busy lady. She juggles her time between Scottish country dancing, swimming and day activities at Creative Abilities. She and her flatmates are going to Rotorua in a few weeks and they’re all looking forward to their adventure.
Ann thinks that Katherine is an incredibly lucky woman. For mum, this means that over the years, she has seen how their community has learned to accept Katherine’s difference with open arms and support her special needs. From education to recreation, she has seen a lot of willingness from individuals and groups to give Katherine the same opportunities as everyone else.
Katherine feels that she’s been living a good life for the past 17 years flatting with her mates. Her flat is her home and she enjoys being able to do a lot of stuff with friends.
“I want to live my own life. I like that I get to go out and do stuff and be independent,” Katherine said without any hesitation.
Katherine said that people with Down Syndrome are cool. It looks like she unintentionally described herself to a tee.
21 March is World Down Syndrome Day. If you’re caring for someone with Down Syndrome and want to find out how we can support you, feel free to send us a referral online.
Published 19 March 2021