Down Syndrome, as defined by the National Down Syndrome Society, occurs when an individual has an extra chromosome 21. ‘In every cell in the human body, there is a nucleus, where genes store genetic material. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits. And make a group along with rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, where each parent contributes equal numbers. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21’, mentions the website.
Down Syndrome occurs in approximately one of 830 live births. The symptom of this syndrome includes mild to moderate learning disabilities. This delays the development of the child, and low facial features in early infancy. Thanks to technology and media, there has been a lot of awareness about this topic. Yet, we are far from being the perfect society for children with Down Syndrome as we should be.
Dance as a Therapy
Aaditya was just three when Simran met him. He was shy and hid behind his mom at the slightest hint of an interaction. His mom, very hesitatingly, asked Simran, a dance trainer, whether she will train him. She slowly revealed about Aaditya’s Down Syndrome and was also apprehensive that a regular dance teacher might not accept Aaditya as her student. Simran didn’t know much about Down Syndrome, but still, she decided to take Aaditya as her student. She saw a flash in him that resonated with her passion for dancing.
With an opportunity to train a specially-abled child, Simran decided to research. From reading up articles online and offline to interacting with experts, special educators, and parents on this subject, she did everything that could make Aaditya more comfortable and sensitive. In the beginning, she decided to have some ME time with him to bond well with him.
She did not start his formal training on the first day and gave freedom to Aaditya to explore his passion. Aaditya moved freely in the class and played with other children there for three months, until one day, she decided to start his formal training in dance.
Formal Training in Dance
That day, she firmly asked Aaditya to join the group. To her surprise, Aaditya showed her the exact steps to which they had choreographed the song. He had been observing the other children and the trainer. That day, Simran found Aaditya’s GIFT.
Day by day, Simran witnessed the transformation in Aaditya. Earlier, other children used to complain that he pulled their hair or pushed them, so Simran made Aaditya, as well as other children, understand. Within no time, Aaditya was the star of the class! He was the one performing with precision and élan, better than anyone else in the class.
Simran could witness changes in his behavior. She learned to believe – slow and steady wins the race. From not being able to stand at a single place, he gradually learned to stand in line with other children. He was having better control over his movements. Simran also noticed that he was also learning to organize himself and follow the structure of the class. He mingled with other children and enjoyed every session straight from his heart, says Simran.
Now, Aaditya is twelve and dances like a dream. He has brilliant control over his body and can effortlessly perform complicated dance steps. His mind and body are synchronizing with each passing day, and he is only getting better in his movements. The trust his mother put in his dance trainer, and the patience and dedication Simran showed in training him, have finally paid off. And the result of their collective effort is spectacular!
For Aaditya, dance has opened a world of entirely new possibilities. He has used the lessons he learned in his dance class to help him learn how to ride a cycle and various other motor-based activities.
Aaditya’s story is a brilliant example of how patience, passion, and dedication can transform the life of a child with Down Syndrome.
Dance is a beautiful medium to help children with Down Syndrome to lose their inhibitions, move freely without judgment, and conquer obstacles.