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Down's syndrome

Richard Davis' daughter, Victoria, was born with Down's syndrome. He talks about the impact the condition has had on her and their family life.

Richard Davis' daughter, Victoria, was born with Down's syndrome. He talks about the impact the condition has had on her and their family life.

"We didn't know anything about Down's syndrome when Victoria was born. We now know it's the most common chromosome disorder.

"The people I've met who have Down's syndrome are able to walk, talk, dress themselves, and feed themselves. A lot of them lead an almost normal life.

"Victoria has made many friends at school. She visits other people's houses without us, and other children come here.

"She has lots of interests: she goes to ballet and gymnastics, and used to go trampolining. She also swims because that helps build up her muscles. People with Down's syndrome have low muscle tone.

"Victoria has a sort of global delay because of the Down's syndrome. She's able to move around fairly quickly, but has very little sense of danger compared with her peers at school.

"So you have to keep stressing that something is dangerous, like crossing the road. You have to keep an eye on her all the time.

"Co-ordination is much, much slower and therefore she does miss out on things like games with the other children.

"She's probably never going to go to Oxford or Cambridge and become a rocket scientist, but that's not going to disappoint me because I didn't do that either. Whatever she achieves is going to be great. I'm going to celebrate what she can achieve and not worry about what she can't.

"Looking after Victoria has made our marriage stronger. In the beginning, we thought it was a major problem that we had to overcome, but it really hasn't been.

"There are more trips to the hospital, and Victoria has more colds than an average child of her age. Her development is slower; you can definitely see that when she's playing with her peers.

"Unfortunately, there was no parent support group in our area, so we asked the Down's Syndrome Association to put us in touch with other new parents.

"We got together fairly quickly with six other parents whose child was born around about the same time. Talking to other parents about their experiences was very beneficial to us."

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