With the ultimate aim of helping children with special needs achieve their full potential, Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore is sponsoring the education to a child from Saint Clare School who is challenged with a genetic condition, Down’s Syndrome.
Throughout the school year of 2017, the beneficiary will receive a monthly allowance of financial assistance.
The Influencer’s Choice Menu was designed by Pasta Fresca to provide responsive financial support to disadvantaged youth and children. With help from Saint Clare School for Special Education, a student, Si Jun was carefully selected as the recipient of Pasta Fresca‘s charitable initiative.
Working together with Pasta Fresca, I had the opportunity to chat with Si Jun’s mum, Ann, about the challenges they faced and how the family embraces Si Jun’s diagnosis openly.
A Special Interview with Si Jun’s Mum, Ann
Alain: Can you share with me about Si Jun’s diagnosis?
Ann: Si Jun has Down Syndrome which affects his learning abilities and body muscle function. He also suffers from a slowed pace of developmental milestones. It will take him a longer time to learn a skill, grasp a concept, and takes him more exercise and practise to achieve proper muscle function.
For example, Si Jun has issues trying to balance himself which affects his ability to walk in a balanced and upright position.
Alain: How does Si Jun’s diagnosis impact his life?
Ann: Due to Si Jun’s diagnosis, he is more dependent on another person and his speed of learning is a lot slower. He is able to handle his daily routines but once in a while I would need to remind him of what is should or should not be doing (e.g. drawing on the walls).
He also needs a mentor to teach and guide him about concepts such as gender and privacy as he finds it a little difficult to fully understand certain concepts.
On the bright side, he has always been a quiet boy who loves drawing, reading, and music. We are very happy that he has a flair for painting and colors.
Alain: How has Si Jun’s diagnosis impacted you?
Ann: It has made a big impact on me in terms of my freedom and lifestyle as I have to constantly be with him. Depending on the situation, I might have to bring him to work at times or I will have to try to find someone who is able to take care of him. This can prove to be a little difficult and a tedious process.
However, from this, I have also learnt that my son is a kind and gentle kid who always listens and is easy to guide. There were multiple occasions where he actually took my bag and laptop when I came home after work and asked me to have my meal first.
He is also a very affectionate child who would help me brush my hair (to make it look neater) and show his love through hugs and holding hands.
Alain: Does Si Jun’s diagnosis impact his brother?
Ann: Si Jun’s brother is currently 14 years old and I can see that he is still not old and mature enough to fully accept the fact about of his brother’s condition. He tends to complain about his younger brother’s condition and how it affects his freedom as he might have to stay in to look after Si Jun and miss out playing with friends.
However, Si Jun’s elder brother still tries to guide him and look after him to the best of his abilities. He is also very protective of Si Jun and always takes his side during an argument with friends.
Alain: How do you cope with tough days?
Ann: I always believe that no matter what happens, as a parent, we cannot give up or lose hope. So I always try to be positive and remind myself that the world does not stop because of me. For Si Jun and his future, I will always try to motivate myself to push on.
Personally, my faith in my religion has a big part to play in helping me out as well.
Alain: Did your dreams for Si Jun change? If so, how?
Ann: No, my dreams for him has not changed. We only knew about his condition after he was born and since then, have taken things day by day.
Alain: What advice(s) would you give to other families who have a loved one that has received a diagnosis similar to yours?
Ann: I would tell them to never give up. Take it one day at a time and keep a positive mind-set. Let the child explore their own strengths and talents and try not to restrict them too much.
Always have hope, and allow the child to grow with lots of love and kindness – this shows as their actions reflect the love, kindness, and generosity that they have received.
Alain: What worries you about the future?
Ann: I do worry about Si Jun’s future and whether he is able to be independent. I also worry if he can take care of himself or how he will fair in the working world.
But no matter what, I will still try my best to nurture and educate him to the best of my ability, and to impart all the necessary daily skills for him to be able to survive by himself independently.
After completing this interview, I recognised an upside to Si Jun’s condition – which could be a gift to him and his mum. The different form of brain structure and thinking of Si Jun’s has lead him to innovation and creativity, both clearly shown in his paintings.
We are hopeful that Si Jun will better realise his full potential, achieve his dreams and ambitions, and grow up to make his own difference in society.
*Interview information and photos disclosed in this post are permitted by the recipient. Thank you Food News PR for facilitating the interview. Thank You Ann for sharing your story with me.