Written on Sunday 26 October, 2008
Grace has Down’s syndrome. Local fokelore says that it is because her mother trod on a particular beetle when she was pregnant. She runs to the tree where we meet when she sees Hannington and me arrive – colouring book in hand. She likes dancing, and decides to put on a show for us as we sit under the tree and review all the children with disabilities in the area.
I seem to be drawn to community work. Some of you know that a third of my paediatric training so far has been in the community. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I feel comfortable assessing another baby with Down’s syndrome, showing the mother how to improve his tone and talking about the causes and associated problems of Down’s syndrome with the ladies gathered under the tree.
Although the setting is somewhat different, the experience isn’t a million miles from the support group at Plymouth Child Development Centre. I may also have gone a little way to dispelling the belief that it is all caused by tredding on a beetle – after all, I tell the ladies, you won’t find the beetle in the UK.
Enjoy Grace’s dance – we did!