These are the musings of a proud dad. The blog shares the joys and occasional stresses of a full-time dad caring for his daughter - who happens to have Down Syndrome (DS). Mum works hard to keep the three of us in school shoes, wine and books. Our daughter's name is Angharad Catrin and she is also known as Ace and 'The Girl'.
"Our story has been chronicled over the past three years in the Cardiff Times and other local and national newspapers, in Take A Break magazine, here at the HuffPost, and in many online Down-Syndrome-related sites. (These include the DSA, the IDSC, Saving Down Syndrome, etc.) We are honoured to be invited to join the Bloggers here at the Parenting Vertical and I will do my best to be entertaining and relevant. I have also (aged 57) recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and might touch on issues relating to that, especially when it impacts on my role bringing up Angharad. Ace had open heart surgery aged 15 weeks which successfully closed three holes in her heart. She is in mainstream primary education with support and will commence at the local mainstream High School in the Autumn of 2017, again, with support. We have worried and researched where and how best to educate Angharad and I guess we'll never stop keeping this matter under review.
"Angharad's activities include Disability Athletics, Brownies, Ballet (Grade 3), Trampolining, horse-riding, judo (yellow belt), and swimming. She's had weekly speech therapy for 3 years now and is a charming (usually), funny (always) and occasionally bolshie girl (what can I say, she's 10)! We live in Cardiff, Wales in a leafy suburb called Penylan and are well aware of how lucky we are to do so. We believe that Angharad is an important part of this community and brings to it much more than the four foot height and four stones weight that comprise her physical 'footprint'.
"Happily, many in the community agree with this assessment but we still have more work to do. One area where such effort is needed is in the impact of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing on the lives of the DS community. Too often there is evidence of a clinical stigma that posits people with DS having low quality of life and little contribution to make; but the opinions of people with DS are rarely sought in such matters. Trust me, Angharad's quality of life is amazing: she gives back more than she takes out, and has touched and changed very many lives for the better. She is a beautiful force of nature! The link below takes you to my Facebook Blog. I am currently updating an older blog on Blogspot that covered Ace's early years. More recently we've used Facebook because of its immediacy: https://www.facebook.com/BeatingDownsBarriers/
""Welcome to our world! Thank you for visiting and I hope you'll return. Feedback, questions and comments are always welcomed and I will try to reply, when appropriate to do so, in due course.