A difficult start with a promising future

Posted October 11, 2022
A difficult start with a promising future

Alissa is a cheeky and playful three year old who loves her older siblings.

When Renee was 20 weeks pregnant, her future daughter was diagnosed with down syndrome. When Renee received the diagnosis, she was initially shocked and unsure what to do. She was put in touch with Down Syndrome WA and Kalparrin who provided support and guidance during this challenging time.

Alissa was diagnosed with down syndrome when her mum was 20 weeks pregnant. Credit: Supplied by family.

Alissa’s start to life was very difficult. She was born with duodenal atresia, a blockage that prevents food and fluid leaving the stomach. She required immediate surgery after birth and spent three weeks in ICU at Perth Children’s Hospital. When Alissa was 12 months old she had her airways trimmed due to choking on her fluids and most recently had an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) operation. 

Alissa in hospital. She has had multiple surgeries to support her feeding and breathing. Credit: Supplied by family

Life is busy for Renee and the family as they juggle Alissa’s doctor and therapy appointments. Alissa is not able to communicate what she needs and Renee is learning to sign with her. She is also not able to walk. 

Renee is appreciative of the support from Telethon beneficiaries, “We would have been lost without Telethon supporting many of the agencies we access”. 

Alissa is very sensory orientated and loves the outdoors. Credit: Supplied by family

Alissa is very sensory orientated and loves building blocks and using her feet to play in the sandpit. Thanks to Telethon-funding, Alissa has access to the South Metro playgroup through Down Syndrome WA where she can socialise and make friends while learning through play. This is also an important playgroup for the parents to network and share experiences and stories with each other. Through the playgroup Renee and other parents have “a village of people” that support each other.

Thanks to the generosity of West Australians, Telethon can help more children like Alissa and her family access more resources and support.

You can donate today at telethon7.com/donate