Beating the odds to walk: Diego's story

When Diego was born, no one at the hospital noticed anything awry. But his aunt soon realized his tongue often hung out, his neck was crooked and his face kept changing color when he moved. She told Diego's mother something wasn't right and urged her to get him checked out.

Diego was three months old when they got the difficult news that he had Down syndrome. The doctor said he might never walk and in the best-case scenario he'd likely be around nine years old before taking his first steps.

 

His mother Francisca was beside herself with grief. She felt guilty for having given birth to him and thought it would have been better never to have had a baby.

 

The family was already struggling financially and now she needed to give up her job making bracelets to look after Diego. She thought he had no chance of ever learning anything. The future looked bleak.

 

But her sister told her about Adisa and Diego soon started having physical therapy there three times a week. Leg, face and neck massages gradually warmed up his muscles and exercises he was told to do at home made him stronger.

 

When he was 18 months old, Diego amazed everyone by walking for the first time.

 

Now five years old, he loves to run around throwing balls and catching bubbles. He is full of energy and makes his family laugh.

 

He attends a special education school twice a week and Francisca is optimistic he'll be able to work one day and live a fairly normal life.

 

"Without Adisa, Diego wouldn't have been able to walk so their program has really changed his life," she said.

 

"I didn't really think he would ever be able to develop his intellect or learn but Adisa has shown me that he can do that and be like other children even if it has been more difficult."

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