Get-hooked March 26, 2020
#CelebratingDownSyndrome- Radhika Mallan’s life shows early intervention can help kids with disabilities
In our month-long series #CelebratingDownSyndrome, our last feature is on 17 year old Radhika Mallan from Bengaluru. Radhika’s growth and empowerment shows how diagnosis and early intervention can do wonders to lives of children with Down syndrome.
17 year old Radhika Mallan was born at Botswana in South Africa. Soon after her birth, Radhika was diagnosed with Down syndrome. But her diagnosis did not deter the spirits of her parents Ranjitha Mallan and Dinesh Mallan to bring her up as an empowered young girl. Radhika is all set to write her class 10 board exams, which has been postponed due to the Coronavirus scare. An academically excellent student, Radhika has proved her skills in dance, playing the piano and karate as well.
A diagnosis of Down syndrome
Ranjitha and Dinesh Mallan, who practiced as Chartered Accountants, was settled in Botswana during Radhika’s birth. The couple were excited as they were having their first child after being married for nine years. On the second day after Radhika’s birth, the doctor suspected Down syndrome and informed the parents. Radhika’s blood was sent for a test and the results came out positive.
We were completely unaware of what Down syndrome was during that time. I immediately checked the internet and gathered all possible information. I was shocked and devastated. Our lives changed after the diagnosis. I came to know that one in 600 kids were affected by Down syndrome. But when I saw her face, I just couldn’t hide my happiness. She was too cute and looked just like any other normal kid. We were determined to bring her up like a normal kid – Ranjitha Mallan.
Soon after, Ranjitha and Dinesh started gathering all information related to Down syndrome. They looked into the various ways to empower her. Ranjitha, who was a successful chartered accountant, took a break from her work to be with Radhika who was introduced to therapies at a young age.
“In fact, I started looking at the many ways through which I could empower her and I started enjoying them. Being at Botswana and away from our families, we had a lot of support from our friends. I must say that early intervention is what helped Radhika become successful in life”, says Ranjitha.
Growing up years
Radhika studied in an inclusive school at Botswana. “Initially, it was hard to get admission into schools due to her disability. But we spoke to her school authorities and asked them to give her a chance. That helped her”, says Ranjitha.
Simultaneously, Radhika started learning Bharatanatyam, karate and how to play the piano as well. She has performed at various venues and won awards and recognitions as well.
In 2017, Radhika completed her class 7. In order to pursue her studies, the family moved to Bengaluru a few years back. She is currently doing her class 10 at Aurinko Academy. She recently participated in the fashion show held by NGO Aasman Foundation in Bengaluru.
“Nothing is impossible. Parents must first accept their child’s disability, then only can they expect the society to follow. Children with Down syndrome are very loving. We are fortunate to have Radhika”, says Ranjitha.
“I’am very proud of my daughter. We celebrate her achievements in a big way and we motivate her too. I want other parents of children with disabilities to believe that their child can excel like any other kid if given the right motivation. It is the parent’s responsibility to accept, support and groom these special children to be independent and face challenges of the world. Indeed, they can make a difference to the society”, says Dinesh Mallan.
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