As a parent, all you can hope for is to be someone that your children can look up to. It’s a difficult enough job as it is, but what more if the parent in question has Down Syndrome? Sader Issa, a dentistry student in Syria, has nothing but love and pride for the way his father raised him.
Jad Issa has Down Syndrome, but that didn’t stop him from showering his son with love and providing him with all the opportunities to realize his full potential. Though his dad may have been different, Sader grew up like the other kids in the neighborhood. Sader’s story is one of love despite the odds, and puts to rest some misconceptions about the abilities of people with Down Syndrome to nurture or raise children.
“I’m proud of my father. Throughout my life he has been the greatest support for me when I needed it.” Sader shared how selfless his father is, and how he has become the backbone of his family, a real pillar in the community, and a tremendous encouragement in his path through dentistry.
Sader was never ashamed of his father’s condition, and growing up, he became even more proud of his father’s ability to rise above his challenges. Jad may have to endure the lifelong difficulties of living with Down Syndrome, and yet he grew into a person with the right values and attitude.
He also became a model for his son, as someone who can achieve more with less, and overcome obstacles with perseverance and positivity. Sader wants the world to know that despite the hardships brought on by Down Syndrome, his father still managed to live a normal life and build a healthy and loving relationship within the family.
Sader is aware as well that his father is proud of his accomplishments in dentistry. “It’s possible to see when his eyes are filled with joy and satisfaction as if to express: yes, I have Down syndrome, but I raised this man and did everything in my power to make him become a doctor and help others.”
Perhaps the love that parents with Down Syndrome have for their children also comes from a sense of wonder. According to the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), “it is actually quite rare for men with Down Syndrome to have children.”
The issue is not related to sterility, but more to a “lack of knowledge” about reproduction. “Women with Down Syndrome are able to get pregnant, but it does not happen often.”
In truth, people with Down Syndrome are truly special, and yet not all different. The NDSC stated, “People with Down Syndrome are more alike their typical peers than they are different. They take longer to reach milestones when they are young, but they reach them! They have feelings and emotions and they want to be treated with respect.”
The outlook for people with Down Syndrome has also changed over the years. The NDSC explained, “People with DS are living great lives! The life expectancy for people with DS has increased from age 25 as recently as the 1980s to being 60 now. People gain meaningful employment and live independently, with many attending college and some getting married.”
As a child of a parent with Down Syndrome, Sader said it best, “We wish all people were able to accept that being different is not something to be ashamed of. People with Down Syndrome are different but they have feelings, aspirations, a mind of their own, and they are capable of living a normal life when there is social acceptance and a society that is supportive.”
Throughout Sader’s youth, and his journey through dentistry on his way to becoming a doctor, Jad has only always shown nothing but unconditional love. What more can a son ask for?
See Sader’s heartwarming story of his father in the video below: