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Harrison has found a very happy place
2:00pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
LITTLE Harrison Kelham is putting smiles on the faces of everyone he meets.
But the biggest smile of all belongs to the two-year-old himself, who, despite having Down’s Syndrome, attends a mainstream pre-school and is flourishing, much to the delight of his parents.
When he was born, mother Mandy and father Jason, of Hannington, were told by doctors that Harrison would probably not be able to attend a mainstream school and would not be able to take part in activities alongside other children.
But Mandy, 45, is determined that her son will continue to defy doctors and live a normal childhood.
“Doctors wanted to put Harrison in a box and say ‘he won’t be able to do this, he won’t be able to do that’, but all children are different and my philosophy is that we won’t know what he can do until we let him try,” she said.
“He is such a happy child, you can’t have a bad day around him because he just makes you smile.”
Harrison attends the charity-run Highworth Pre-School and Mandy said she has been overwhelmed by the support provided by the staff who look after her son, who have even helped raise money for the Swindon Down’s Syndrome group.
“I have never heard of a charity raising money for another charity, so when they told me that they wanted to raise money for the group because of Harrison I was just blown away,” she said.
“Harrison has come on so much since he has been at the pre-school, we don’t think it will be long until he is walking. He absolutely loves it and he has made lots of friends.”
Harrison’s parents, who have two other children – Tiffany, 10, and seven-month-old Christopher – were told their middle child had Down’s Syndrome just 20 minutes after he was born.
Jason, 37, said they had to search for information on the condition when they were told the news, as, they didn’t know what it involved.
“Being a parent of a Down’s Syndrome child isn’t any more hassle – the only different thing is that we are still carrying him because he can’t walk yet.
“But they always say there are two things about Down’s Syndrome children – they are very loving and they are very strong. Two good qualities to have.”
At three months old, Harrison underwent heart surgery as he was born with two holes in his heart.
Pre-school administration co-ordinator Helen Simpson said: “It has been a learning curve for us – Harrison is the first child we have had here with Down’s Syndrome but he is getting on great and the integration has worked well.
“We want to make people aware children with Down’s Syndrome can be integrated, and it is good for the other children. They are helping Harrison with some of the things he struggles with.
“He makes the pre-school a happier place.”
l Today is World Down’s Syndrome Day. Visit www.worlddownsyndromeday.org.