Trisomy 21 Twins
Our twin daughters Maria and Anna were born with Trisomy 21. We did not want to accept many “wont’s” that the doctors promised us for the girls’ future. We wanted to improve the life of our daughters for the better. We found out about The Institutes of the Achievement of Human Potential and attended the What to Do About your Brain Injured Child course when the girls were 11 month old, and we returned back to the Institute for an appointment to be prescribed a program. There, we were taught the program, and returned home to work on it together with our daughters. But in a few months one of the twins, Maria, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and West Syndrome at the same time and had to stop program. Maria spent 7 months in the hospital undergoing 6 blocks of chemotherapy, and then 2 more years going to the hospital every month for checkups and further treatment. For those years we also tried different types of therapies that doctors recommended to us: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. But nothing worked for us. We now understand why: those therapies were treating symptoms, but not the cause of the problem.
We returned back to the Institute again when the girls were 4 years old. Since then, both Maria and Anna have been on the Intensive Treatment Program for 3 years. Our day is very intensive with all prescribed activities. The girls like everyday routine and eagerly follow it. They are really enjoying their Physiological, Physical, Intellectual and Social Programs, and every day they make us proud by their achievements and progress.
Now the girls are 7 years old. They are healthy, physically strong, intellectually smart and very energetic. Last year both Maria and Anna became runners and they also learn swimming. Our daily physical routine consists of 30 brachiation trips, daily running of 5.2km, and gymnastic routines.
Many adults could not handle such a program, but Anna and Maria are doing it enthusiastically every day with a great joy. Everyone who sees them on the run or doing routine exercises at home become jealous of their strength, stamina and endurance. Our friends joke: “Are you preparing them to be special agents?”
Intellectually, both Maria and Anna are very smart. Thanks to the Bits of Intelligence program, Maria and Anna acquired a lot of encyclopedic knowledge about the world – geography, history, biology, chemistry, mathematics, anatomy, astronomy, music and art. The girls have a great memory and are enjoying learning new facts about the world. We think that their knowledge in many fields is above their peer level, and close to high school level! Maria and Anna love geography and they can point on the map many countries of the world, states of USA, provinces and territories of Canada, islands, rivers, mountains, and seas. They like chemistry and can find any element on the Periodic Table of the Elements. They like anatomy and know about organs of human body and major systems (skeletal, nervous, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, etc). They like music and can relate music to proper composers. Maria and Anna are now the geniuses of our family. Sometimes we are having contests purely for fun among family members: the twins compete with their older brother and sister! Maria and Anna are the fastest ones to find the right answer and solve problems faster than their well brother and sister.
Maria and Anna are trilingual kids and can read English, Russian and French books. They are not only reading, they understand and recall information from books. The last of our problem solving includes analyses of natural and human recourses of Africa, and choosing the best place or country to live in there. During analyses they referred to relief, climate zones, water sources, type of flora and fauna, urbanization and pollution. The girls even made a little guide for those who would like to visit Africa to explain where to go and what to see there.
The girls have also matured socially. They both have more than 30 personal and household responsibilities, and are very eager to help mom and dad at home. Some of their responsibilities include feeding and cleaning after the dog, loading and unloading the dishwasher, setting the table before meal, cleaning their bedroom and keeping everything in order in it.
I would like to mention that not only the members of our family can see a big progress in girls’ development, but so can our friends and even strangers. It is often that people have approached us and told that they were work with kids with special needs and they were so impressed with girls and their appearance, posture, behavior or everyday routine. We are very proud that people can see the difference, and that all of our work is visible in the girls’ development. We are happy to know that our daughters have never ending possibilities to move forward and live a life without boundaries.
We are thankful to the Institutes for an opportunity to change our life from desperation to hope, happiness, and pride. I wish that the other families with kids with Down syndrome or kids with special needs can see this opportunity for their kids as well and do not waste their time and money on different therapies that are not working. The Intensive Treatment Program is not easy, but this is not in vain. I think it’s a lot of work for parents, but much easier and enjoyable for the kids. And it’s really worth it! I know it because with every visit to the Institutes we can see how the other children being seen for appointments changed and matured. It’s amazing to ssee how they can do something that they were not capable to do before, how they develop, and how they smile!