It was a shock to the system when Ebony was born, as it was a day and a half before they realised she had Down’s Syndrome.

There were a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change her for the world, she’s amazing and it’s even more amazing how far she has come.

Ebony also had open heart surgery at eight months old, so we had to travel up and down to Dublin for treatment and surgery, but within five days she was singing and dancing like she normally does.

The Doctors told me she wouldn’t be able to speak, and that walking would be a struggle, but we’ve got her walking! It took her till about three years of age, but she eventually got up on her feet and walks without any problems now.

At the time Ebony was born, there wasn’t a lot of support out there. I started looking for Down’s syndrome classes so she could meet other children’s with Down’s syndrome.  Ebony attended a local Sure Start centre and she was thriving and learning a lot from the other children, but she was slower.


It changed my outlook

When Ebony started to attend the Mencap Children’s Centre it totally changed my outlook on everything in terms of Ebony’s needs.

They taught me so much about what Ebony’s needed, as it was all new to me as well.

The Mencap staff helped me so much to cope with everyday struggles with Ebony, teaching me basic sign language for things, even signs for days of the week.

The staff also tell you about everything that’s happening with Ebony so you are included and can then back up what she has learned when you get home.

My hopes for the future for Ebony would be that she can go out into this big bad world and be treated as a normal human being, and not have people staring and looking at her. And to be treated equally, because at the moment I don’t think kids with disabilities get treated equally.

The Mencap Children’s Centre has brought Ebony on in leaps and bounds. It’s brought her out of her shell and given her so much confidence, she has developed so much in that one year it’s been just amazing.

Aodhàn and Luca

Aodhàn and Luca are three years old and attend the Mencap Centre Nursery in Belfast. Here their key worker, Paul Kane, talks about their friendship, and the progress they have made at the nursery.
Read more about Aodhàn and Luca