Sixteen years ago we had the best day of our lives as we became parents for the first time to Jasmine, and also the most shocking, as we found out our beautiful, long-awaited daughter had Down syndrome. It was a condition we were familiar with, but had no idea what to do with. After we took some moments to pause and wonder what our life was going to be like, we were quickly connected to our local Early Intervention Services office. We met our first case manager, and our journey as parents and teachers began. All the services and guidance were extremely important to us as new parents because they helped us navigate this new life that we were given…they made us feel like it was going to be ok…. and they were right! I don’t know how we would have gotten through it all without them. We went on to have 2 more children, which made our family just perfect.
Of all the services offered, one of the most important was the speech & language therapy that Jasmine received through York Region Preschool Speech and Language Program. Communication was going to be key to Jasmine as she developed and became an active member of her community, whether at school or at play. She had many sessions of speech therapy with her favorite Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), along with many hours of practice at home.
The most important component of this story is Jasmine and her huge successes. She completed her elementary school years with great success, even getting recognized for having presented her Grade 7 Speech about Down syndrome in the gym, a feat most people cringe at. She earned the, “Yes I Can” award in Grade 8 which recognized all the hard work she put into her education over 10 years. She lived a full experience of elementary school, academically and socially, even taking a trip to Ottawa with her Grade 8 class and celebrating it all at her Grade 8 graduation.
Today Jasmine is in grade 11, working toward achieving her Ontario Secondary School Certificate. She is a sassy 16 year old young lady who is very popular at school and around her community. Her communication skills are quite strong, and although people struggled to understand her in her early years, she now makes herself clearly understood. Jasmine is best known for her great one-liners and her overall kindness. She has done a co-op program working with an esthetician in a local salon, and also volunteered at a local day care this past summer, learning how to work with children, something she adores doing.
The road has not always been easy. There have been many struggles and a lot of work has been done. We definitely had many supports over the years and we value each and every therapist, teacher and caregiver who has ever worked with Jasmine. Every bit of help has allowed her to become the confident and successful person she is today. We hope that with all the work behind her, the road ahead of Jasmine will be bright and fruitful. The journey is not over, it’s actually only beginning. Jasmine is a very happy young lady, who loves her life and loves her family. She knows what she likes…and she’s not afraid to tell you! What more can a parent want!