There are many people in the world who are born with low mental and social abilities. Although it is not by choice, their fates have already been decided. Such people face many difficulties socializing and adapting to the environment. Therefore, they need special attention and care.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that leads to the retardation of one’s mental health. It occurs due to the presence of a third copy of the 21st chromosome. This disease, associated with physical growth delays the intellectual disability, is an inevitable condition occurring due to abnormal cell division. It is one of the most common disorders leading to mental retardation and it is known to occur in about one per 1000 babies born each year.
Kosala Perera, born with Down syndrome, is an ideal example to prove the fact that children born different can still succeed in life despite the doubt and negativity with which they are looked upon by members of the society.
The modern society includes cruel and selfish people where various groups of people have unequal access to certain advantages such as status and power. In such a society, it is not uncommon for a mother to disown and dump her baby in ditches or perform abortion when finding out that the baby is mentally disabled.
However, Kosala was born to respectful and loving parents who were never hesitant to take solid care of their second born regardless of the great sacrifices they had to make.
Parents of such children begin to undergo many lifestyle changes in order to adapt with the new family member. It is a stressful experience for both the parents since the child is both physically and mentally affected.
"The doctors advised us to always be aware of him and teach him many things, so that he can be brought forward and even surpass the other normally born children"- Piyasena
However much a challenge it is, Kosala’s parents have done the best they can to lead Kosala towards a successful life. Although Down Syndrome causes one to be behaviorally incompatible with others, Kosala gets along well with everyone. Also, despite the developmental milestones that Down syndrome patients face, Kosala adapted to everything quite soon and always became the best in everything he did.
Kosala is skilled in many areas. He does extremely well in arts, Dancing, drama as well as sports. He has received countless numbers of certificates, medals and awards and also been to many festivals and openings.
Studying at Sunera Foundation (an organization for the differently abled people in Sri Lanka) for 15 years, Kosala had always been the most talented, most skilled and understanding student. In spite of his disorder, Kosala is a fast learner and wins every competition he participates in.
His parents had recognised his talent and encouraged him to try everything and learn new things.
Kosala is also an active member of a cricket team that caters to such children. He is also skilled in shot put and 100m and 200m running. He is quite talented in Western and Tamil dancing and also enjoys drama.
His parents were definitely the reason behind his achievements. However, they did not want to spoil him with too much love and comfort. They made sure that he understood the tougher paths in life by letting him experience hardships. Thinking about his future, they got him ready for the life he would have to live when his parents will be no more.
Kosala had worked in various places before he landed a job at Hemas, where he now works in content.
Besides all that, Kosala also helps in the kitchen work and other household chores. He takes great care of his parents as well.
His parents support him in every way despite the minor issues holding them back from providing him with most requirements.
In addition to being talented in many fields, Kosala has learnt to travel alone and has a good knowledge of table etiquette as well. He is a naturally calm and kind hearted person, unlike most Down Syndrome patients who tend to get agitated and become aggressive quickly.
However, life is not always sunshine and rainbows. The society includes various kinds of people and the selfish, inconsiderate majority would always look down upon others.
Their unsophisticated nature tends to take advantage and control over the less fortunate.
"Although I had suffered a lot while raising Kosala, our efforts were not in vain as he has now greatly succeeded in life - Suvineetha"
Kosala has faced such harassment in public several times and for this reason, his parents are reluctant to completely let him step into society. The society can be quite dangerous and harassment is a public issue that needs to be checked immediately.
Kosala’s father, Piyasena Perera, mentioned that he and his wife had always wanted a son. Although they hadn’t expected him to turn out this way, they were very grateful to God.
“The doctors advised us to always be aware of him and teach him many things, so that he can be brought forward and even surpass the other normally born children. We always sacrificed everything for him and gave him greater attention in the family”, he said.
Piyasena said that they never kept Kosala hidden in a corner, away from people. “I took him wherever I went, showed him many things and taught him a lot”.
Kosala’s mother, Suvineetha Aththanayake, said that she was quite happy to have given birth to Kosala.
“To be honest, I’m so happy to have given birth to such a child because the children these days are not very grateful even to their own parents and might kick them out of the house. Kosala treats us very well”.
Suvineetha explained that although she had suffered a lot while raising Kosala, their efforts were not in vain as Kosala has now greatly succeeded in life.
Kosala with his parents
Pics by Pradeep Dilrukshana