Living With ‘Down Syndrome’ Children

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  •  ( l - r) Iuogafa Tapusatele with her husband and boy from Salesatele, Lisale Alaifua and his daughter from Uafato
    ( l - r) Iuogafa Tapusatele with her husband and boy from Salesatele, Lisale Alaifua and his daughter from Uafato


On the celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, Lisale Alaifua from Uafato and Iuogafa Tapusatele from Salesatele, gave brief snapshots  into raising   children living with the condition.

They were at Tuanaimato yesterday to celebrate the special day for the Down Syndrome people.

Alaifua’s daughter is 3 years old and the youngest of 7 children. She is the only child with this disability in the family and because of her condition she is treated special by everyone.

“ Our daughter  is so precious to me and my wife, we raise her with great love and heaps of patience,” Alaifua told Newsline.

Raising a child of Down Syndrome is challenging but the love of their child is all Alaifua and his wife needs to respond to their daughter’s mood changes.

They know that their daughter does not want to play too long with other kids and when she returns she wants them to hold her up and on their laps.

They also know she sleeps for a long time and when she wakes up she seems to be in a bad mood.  No matter how much they try to cheer her up she continues to frown.

They also know this would all change when  she hears music.

“When she hears music she would get up and dance. She would dance away without a care in the world,” Alaifua told Newsline.

 His daughter has her favourite food.

“ My daughter loves fried food and would not eat soup. If she is given soup she would only eat the meat. She would not eat rice but eats only taro and other root crops.”

Iuogafa Tapusatele has a  7 year old son attending Senese.

He loves music and if he is angry the music would cheer him up.

“When he hears music his anger is gone and he would start dancing,” Tapusatele told Newsline.

Although her son is full of mischief Tapusatele said that he finds him useful in the home as he does the chores.

Tapusatele said her son even though he is 7 years old he still cannot write.

“We have tried to teach him to write but he still can’t. He is however able to memorise a word or a sentence.”

“ He has huge appetite, hard to please and when angry things in the house would start flying out.”

Tapusatele is however pleased to see that her son loves attending school.

“At 6 am he is up ready for school and he comes home and tells us all that happened at school.  His speech is still not clear. Other people are confused with what he says but we understand him.”

Alaifua and Tapusatele were at Tuanaimato to celebrate World Down Syndrome’s Day.