The Journey Begins with a Single Step Etidal’s Story

Two-year old Etidal, a person with Down syndrome, lives in a family of six. The family was displaced from rural Aleppo and lives currentlyin an unfinished house in Jaramana, Daff al-Sakher. When they came to visit the community center to receive some services, the girl was registered, referred to the Rehabilitation Program and integrated into a Friendship Group. In fact, all children were enrolled in age-appropriate activities to obtain services offered at the CC.
When interviewing the mother (with the girl present), the Program and what it can offer was explained to her, especially as it is applied at home mainly and helps the whole family develop some objectives along with the Dawn person.
An evaluation was conducted with both mother and girl, and on the basis of that, a family plan suited to Etidal’s needs was developed. Those needswere explained to the mother and she was provided with appropriatetools and games to achieve the desired objectives.
Through follow-up and practical sessions with both girl and mother, it was established that the girl achieved several objectives:
- She is no longer afraid of leaving her mother at home in her familiar environment with familiar people.
- She no longer crawlsaround the house or move carried around, but walks autonomously and runs to escape or play.
- When talking to her, she nods or shakes her head to affirm or negate, and tries to communicate with the caregiver through sight, waiting for the confirmation of something, and tries to draw attention by applauding or disappearing behind hands.
- She expressesher needs (hunger and thirst) in words, sounds and gestures instead of crying; she names some objects, mimics some simple sounds/words and songs and mentions some names, especially those of her siblings in their absence.
- She is no longer afraid when changing the position of her body from sitting to standing and from lying down to sitting in order to do something.
- She is no longer afraid from hiding to play and loves to play with her siblings, fits with the group, and follows the rules by imitating some of the children’s or siblings’ movements.
- She has become more aware and in control of her surroundings: when seeing sunlight coming from the window she drawsthe curtains; when seeingtrash she throws it in the trash bin; when feeling cold she brings a blanket to feel warm; etc.
- She used to be indifferent to pictures or any drawings she saw. Now, however, when she sees a picture her mother had talked to her about, she points to it with her index requesting from her mother to bring it and talk to her about it again.
- Thanks to the increasing attention given to her and to finding a suitable place where she can play, away from unsafe sources of contamination, the girl’s health improved and she was finally rid of a chronic intestinal infection.
The family’s happiness with this change was immense. It facilitated a lot of things for them and created a relaxed atmosphere within the household. This is why the family continues to help Etidal, cooperating by enjoying playing with her or doing any activity that improves her performance and offers her more autonomy in some simple daily activities.
Work is still going on to plan forward towards subsequent objectives.