Richard Davis’s daughter, Victoria, was born with Down’s syndrome. He talks about the impact the chromosome disorder has had on Victoria, and also on family life.


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My name’s Richard and I have a daughter who has Down syndrome.

This is Bianca. This is Ingrid.

When Victoria was born, we didn’t know anything about Down syndrome.

It’s a chromosome disorder. It’s the most common chromosome disorder.

Everybody that I’ve met who has Down syndrome

will be able to walk, talk,

dress themselves, feed themselves.

A lot of people I’ve met who have Down syndrome

lead what you’d say was an almost normal life.

She’s made lots of friends at school.

She goes to other people’s houses without us.

Other children come here.

She’s interested in lots of different things,

like she goes to ballet, she goes to gymnastics,

she used to go to trampolining.

She goes to swimming because that helps build up muscles

and people who have Down syndrome have low muscle tone.

So we do all that sort of thing to help her muscles, her balance,

to help her cognitive ability.

One of the thing Victoria has because of the Down syndrome

is a sort of global delay.

She’s seven years old, she’s able to move around fairly quickly,

but she has very little sense of danger

compared with her peers at school.

So you have to keep stressing that something is dangerous.

Crossing the road is dangerous.

You have to keep an eye on her all the time.

Coordination is much, much slower and therefore she does miss out

on things like games with the other children.

She’s probably never going to go to Oxford and Cambridge

and become a rocket scientist, but that’s not going to disappoint me,

because I didn’t do that.

Whatever she achieves is going to be great.

I’m going to celebrate what she can achieve

and not worry about what she can’t do.

It’s not a wrong way. Thanks, Victoria.

(Richard) Looking after Victoria has made our marriage stronger.

In the beginning we thought it was a major problem

that we had to overcome.

It really hasn’t been a major problem.

There are things about having Down syndrome

which are not the same as other families.

There are more trips to the hospital.

She has more colds than an average child of her age.

Her development is slower.

You can definitely see that when she’s playing with her peers.

Unfortunately, there was no parent support group in our area,

so we asked the Down Syndrome Association

to put us in touch with other new parents,

and we got together fairly quickly with six other parents

whose child was born around about the same time.

Talking to other parents about their experiences

and what they’d heard from the hospital was very beneficial to us.