Down Syndrome Association of Tshwane Newsletter February – Volume 3



February; the month of LOVE. So that is our Focus this month-LOVE. We all need love to survive, the most amazing feeling is being in Love, falling in Love is such an adventure. I’m sure you’ve all been there, the beginning stirrings of attraction, the uncertainty whether the object of your affections feels the same way as you, the excitement of getting to know one another and love the individual despite their quirks.


I have many a time encountered people who, once finding out Joshua has Down syndrome, will come up with the strangest sayings to try and make me feel better, because they think that I feel bad, about having a child with Down syndrome. I have been told countless times what loving people, people with Down syndrome are, how special I am ’cause only ‘special people’ get ‘special children like that’. Now I assure you, I am no more special than the person down the street who does not have a child with any disability. The point here is, our kids are no different in many respects from any other ‘typical’ child out there, they all have good days as well as bad days. They have days where they do not want to give us a hug and a kiss and they have days where they want lots of love, hugs and kisses.

As such, when they grow up, they also want love and a relationship with someone who respects and understands them just like us. I was fortunate enough to attend the Valentines ball for the young adults, and might I add, saw a few flourishing relationships which made me smile. The evening was fun and each and every one of them danced the evening away vigorously.

As with all families, every day stress is a present factor in our relationships, as parents, add to that stress the differently abled child and it could become incredibly overwhelming. According to the following are a few of the effects a differently abled child can have on a Marriages:

Positive effects
Coping with the stress of raising a child with a disability can make a relationship stronger and bring a couple closer together. Many parents say that it is a rewarding and positive experience. It can lead to better coping skills, a stronger family, more sharing of parenting responsibilities and increased communication. 

Caring for a child with a disability can be a lot more work than raising a typically developing child, and the extra demands can result in strain on the parents’ relationship. But this isn’t the only cause of stress. Other factors include:

      Financial pressures: transportation, equipment, medical bills and essential changes to the house can all cost a lot, and may place a financial strain on a couple.

     Employment: one or both parents might have to reduce their working hours to care for their child. That means less income, which is additionally stressful if costs have gone up. The parent who stays home may also feel resentful and isolated, which can place a strain on the relationship.

     Marital roles: when there is a child with a disability in the family, studies show that the roles of mothers and fathers tend to become more traditional, with fathers working outside the home and mothers providing primary care for the child. One or both parents might be uncomfortable with this division of labour.

     Child behaviour: according to research, often it’s not the disability that causes most parents stress – it’s any behavioral problems that go along with the disability. The type, intensity and frequency of behavioral problems can really affect your relationship with your partner.

     Time pressures: you might have far fewer opportunities to spend time with your partner, go out, keep up your own interests or go on holidays.

Dealing constructively with relationship strains

Spending time together as a couple is the best thing you can do to reduce any strain on your relationship. Find a way to spend pleasurable time together, for both leisure activities and intimacy. You may need to take advantage of respite care to give you time alone.

Here are some other ways to reduce the strain:

      Celebrate achievements, your own and your child’s – focus on positives.

      Share the workload at home so that one parent is not overburdened.

      Talk to each other about your feelings, listen to each other and give each other emotional support.

      It’s OK to laugh: a sense of humour helps to lighten situations and relieve tension.

      Claim all financial benefits that you are eligible for in order to reduce financial strain. Make decisions together about areas where you can save money.

Use all supports available to you. The more support you have the less stressed you may be and the better your relationship with your partner is likely to be. Parents who have more support report greater marital satisfaction and less stress. Support can come from:

      family members;

      disability associations such as the Down Syndrome Association of Tshwane;

      peer support groups;

      professionals such as psychologists or relationship counselors.


Handling conflict

Conflicts and tensions occur in even the strongest relationships, so they are bound to occur when there is extra stress. The following techniques are helpful for resolving conflict:

      Listen and try to understand.

      Commit yourself to finding a solution when you have differences.

      Be prepared to compromise.

      Focus on the problem situation, not the person.

      Let your partner talk without interruption.

      Sit down while talking and do not argue aggressively or shout.

When should I worry about my relationship?

Immediately after your child is diagnosed with a disability, your relationship may be affected while both of you adjust to the diagnosis and manage your emotional responsibilities.

 Every couple will deal with their child’s diagnosis differently. But your relationship may need attention if some of the following behaviors persist over a period of time:

      a loss of sex drive

      not enough time for intimacy

      not enough time to spend together

      talking to one another a lot less

      having more and worse arguments.

Who can I talk to if I am worried about my relationship?

The first person you should talk to is your partner. You can deal with a lot of worries by talking openly – don’t be scared to talk about how you feel. Information taken from:

We are very proud that one of our young adults is doing his Matric. Jacques du Pont is doing Maths this year and redoing Geography as he was not happy with his results from last year. All subjects he wrote last year he passed! Well done Jacques. Below is a picture of him outside his college!



      2 tablespoons sugar

      1⁄3; cup cornstarch

      2 cups cold water

      ¼ cup clear liquid dish soap

      food colouring or food colouring paste


       Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a small pan, then slowly add cold water.

       Cook over low heat, stirring until the mixture becomes a smooth; almost clear gel about 5 minutes.

       When it’s cool, stir in clear dishwashing liquid.

      Scoop equal amounts of the mixture into containers and stir in food coloring or, for even more vibrant colors, use food-coloring paste

So, as we all know, most of our kids are visual learners, so here’s a link to help with timetables for those who need it:

Below, is a link with 30 Kids Activities & Materials for Promoting Fine Motor Skills, the beauty of this is that the majority of these activities you can do with things

you use every day:



Below, is a link for a website that belongs to Heidi Crowter, she is 15 years old and has Down syndrome:


Accompanying this Newsletter are 2 attachments, they are about the conversion of medical scheme contribution deductions to medical scheme contribution tax credits . In summary it is a change that is to be implemented by all employers effective 1 March 2012. It states what your tax credit can be depending on amount of dependants on your medical aid scheme and the effects on the employer and employee.


We unfortunately have not completed our yearly activities and events, but will do so shortly and send the calendar to all. We apologize for the delay.


As promised, this is the link to our facebook group

Please be advised that this is a closed group, so only members of the group can see the content.


I really wish parents would understand how hard it is to become a grown-up . . . I realize they went through it but not in this new generation. Help us, don’t hinder us, accept who we become, don’t change who we decide to be and most importantly embrace us for all our faults (cause they probably came from you! Its genetics after all).

This by a teenager – Author Name Unknown