Aminath Mushathary, or ‘Mush’ is the mother to 5-year-old Ammar, a boy with down syndrome. For the first time ever, Mush is sharing her experience as a parent to a child who had down syndrome – in the hopes of raising awareness.
The birth of a baby brings unexplainable joys to its families. At the birth of Ammar however, the whole family was left in shock as just after two days into his life, Ammar was diagnosed with down syndrome based on the evident physical features. Even though she had her doubts herself, this hit Mush with a rollercoaster of emotions. Mostly, she was just concerned about the wellbeing of her son and dwelling on how the future would play out for her little one. While these thoughts were constantly at the back of her head, the healthcare professionals that met with her following the diagnosis briefed her more regarding down syndrome in a more positive stance along while addressing the possible repercussions of it – that eventually put her more at ease.
Similar to most children with down syndrome, Ammar grew up slower than other children of his age. He learned to walk and talk at a very slow place. Unfortunately, while he was learning to do so, Ammar was diagnosed with Leukemia following which everything went into a regression. For a period of almost a year afterwards, Ammar was subject to a strict and strong treatment which also delayed him getting the necessary therapies as speech therapy and occupational therapy. Fortunately, he is in the clear now, but being cautious is always a must.
Whilst the fears and thoughts Mush had when Ammar was born still is there to an extent, she is now focused on the things she can do for Ammar, at present such as getting the therapies and education he would need for his self-development. This also means educating herself on what she can do for him in this aspect – a priority for Mush. She is supported by her family, and her in-laws who find joy in Ammar, and is extremely understanding and accepting of him – a fun, active and a really loving little boy.
A dream Mush has as a parent of a child with down syndrome, is none other than an inclusive community. By ‘inclusive’, what she envisions is an integrated system where every special needs service is a part of it the ‘common thing’ rather than something ‘added’. Where everything is at your fingertips without having to go the extra mile just because they are little different Moreover, she wishes that the society would acknowledge the existence and needs of individuals with down syndrome or even other disabilities, not just on special occasions but rather every day!