Every year about 25000-30000 children with Down's Syndrome are born in India. In the developed nations, 90% of such pregnancies are usually terminated before birth! In India, this doesn't happen to most of the cases due to the lack of medical care and lack of awareness among people about this syndrome. Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder where the affected human has an extra chromosome. It has no cure. Children with this syndrome has intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities. The average IQ of a young adult with down syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental age of an 8- or 9-year-old child, but this can vary widely.
In India, there are many instances where parents have left their newborn child to die in road, dustbin etc. Recently a father killed his son with Down's syndrome as he thought him to be a liability. There are many such cases of social injustice, discrimination, murders etc of children with down syndrome. Being blessed with a child with disabilities is the ultimate test of parenthood. Some parents just give up from the start and try to get rid of these kids, others are disappointed but accept their fate, and then there are the "third kind" – those who embrace both the joy and struggle of loving these special children.
The "third kind" here is, Aditya Tiwari, a resident of Pune, who made history by becoming India’s youngest single parent to adopt a child, that too with down's syndrome. He showed we Indians that children who are born with disabilities also have the right to live and feel the essence of life like any other normal person.
"I am proud to say that he [Avnish Aditya Tiwari(Binney)] is my son and the most special gift I have received from God. I feel blessed! When a single man adopts a child, it puts him way outside the societal norms. The world certainly looks at you differently, but even the way you look at yourself undergoes a drastic change. From being a bachelor to becoming a father – I suddenly found myself flipping roles after Binney’s arrival into my world. Being a father is definitely not easy, but what makes it special is to be a father to a child with down syndrome, which is a genetic disorder. It manifests itself as physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and moderate intellectual disability. But all thanks to my understanding and my supportive parents who have showered their grandson with loads of love and care, these symptoms have faded into the background.
The love spell has worked its magic in just three months and I bet you couldn’t tell the difference between Binney and his “normal” friends if you met them. I want to believe that it would be the same as he grows up. But deep down I know and slightly fear that it won’t be so. Nevertheless, it is always better to accept the facts early on and prepare yourself well to deal with them. I have come to realise that Binney may start facing challenges from his early pre-school days. I am sure he would do great with music, art and activity learning, but he might struggle with the concepts of language, grammar, mathematics and the sciences. My vision for Binney is far from building his IQ. I’d simply rather hone his EQ.
I want him to grow to know and witness the beauty of nature – the fluttering butterflies and buzzing bees around a bush of fragrant roses, the sound of a fresh-water stream, the whistling wind as it rushes through an army of tall trees, and the captivity of gazing at a starlit night sky. I wish for him to play with colours and to paint his life’s canvas with many bright ones. I want him to feel the healing touch of music and to know how each note brightens his mood. I wish he learns to dance, and dances like he doesn’t care about who is watching him. I want him to dream and believe and create for that is the real purpose of life. I wish for him to fly so high that he takes his thoughts farther than ever. And I wish this for him and all children.I hope to show him the better side of the world and I hope he finds a community that supports the same. Avnish will definitely grow to be normal but I’d still love him to be different and unique in his own ways. It would be a pride to see how he stands amongst many and yet shines the brightest. It is therefore not only my responsibility but also my honour to give him the best and more – always and forever."