Meet the Folans!

Least of our worries

Joe was diagnosed with two cardiac conditions antenatally and faced a lot of medical challenges in the first year of his life. Down syndrome was really the least of our worries! In those early days we seemed to bounce from respiratory issues to cardiac surgery, to an unsafe swallow… the list went on. It was quite overwhelming keeping up with never ending appointments, making sense of all Joe’s needs while trying to get to know our boy.

When Zoe was born Joe was 20 months old and together they learnt all about eating, moving around, communicating and playing. Zoe’s development spurred Joe on to rise to the challenge. Life was very busy with two non-mobile children but in lots of ways it was quite straightforward to manage two little ones at the same time – and they were both into similar things like rhyme time at the library, soft play and singing hands.

They attended nursery together and we decided to delay Joe’s school entry by a year, so in September 2020 in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic they started school together too.

No hesitation

We are so incredibly proud of the progress they have both made since starting school. Joe achieved toilet training in time to start school and he walked in confidently on his first day with no hesitation. He has lots of friends who approach him on the school run to say ‘hi Joe!’ He absolutely loves going to school and has developed so much, particularly in independence and communication. Zoe started school as a shy little girl but finished Reception confident and happy and has made a great start to Year 1.

So grown up

Last year was the first time I have got Joe involved in choosing a present for Zoe’s birthday. We went shopping, he chose her a unicorn toy and unicorn wrapping paper, he helped wrap it for her and proudly presented it to her as soon as she woke up on her 5th birthday. Throughout the whole experience he resisted the urge to choose a dinosaur related present which he would love. He just seemed so grown up suddenly!

We welcomed a new addition to our family last August. Joe and Zoe now have a little sister called Alice. Despite preferring a dinosaur, we knew Joe would once again be a fantastic big brother to his new sister, because he is also such a wonderful brother to Zoe. It has been a bit of a shock to go back to the baby stage again, but this time round we have two little helpers… Wish us luck!!