Mum watches in amazement as her Down’s Syndrome daughter copies her healthy sister
An adorable little girl with Down’s Syndrome has learnt to walk, talk and even dance all thanks to her big SISTER.
Ellie Harrington, two, from Ely, Cambridgeshire, hasn’t let her condition hold her back – so much so that she even started walking early all thanks to copying four-year-old Evie.
Their proud parents, Lisa Moden, 42 and Mark Harrington, 43, know it’s their sisterly bond that has allowed Ellie to develop so quickly.
They couldn’t be prouder of everything their girls have achieved together so far.
Lisa said: “I believe the main reason Ellie began walking early was because she desperately wanted to keep up with Evie.
“Ellie’s muscle tone was very good, so she had a good head start with being able to follow her sister.
“Children with Downs syndrome are visual learners, so its great for Ellie to have a 24/7 playmate.
“The girls are inseparable, if Evie put on a princess dress on from her fancy dress box then Ellie will copy.
“They just love playing with each other, they are a little double act.
“Evie told me that when she grows up she wants to live with Ellie forever it melted my heart.”
Lisa couldn’t be happier with the progress Ellie is making at such a young age.
She added: “Evie is constantly talking to her little sister so it’s no surprise that at just two-years-old she’s already pronouncing certain words.
“Children with DS generally experience some intellectual and physical delays but so far Ellie has been developing really well.
“Evie adores her little sister and it’s such a relief to see them both learning new things together.
“If Evie starts dancing then her little sister will join in too, it’s so funny to watch them together.
“They do get themselves into mischief though, I often find them both on the table or windowsills.”
Lisa was first told that Ellie could have Down’s Syndrome when she was pregnant after a blood test came back abnormal.
She said: “I was devastated with there being a 1 in 5 chance of her having the condition, but 80% chance everything would be ok, so we just hoped for the best.
“I gave birth to Ellie at home and I knew as soon as I looked at her that she had it.
“I was horrified, I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t see past her Down’s Syndrome.
“It makes me feel awful thinking back to all of those raw emotions but I was completely shocked.”
Two weeks after being born, Ellie was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome.
But instead of dwelling on the condition, Lisa’s family rallied round to support her through it.
Lisa said: “It didn’t take long for me to see past the diagnosis, Ellie’s didn’t seem to have poor muscle tone, she was lucky with very good health and went from strength to strength.
“Evie loved her little sister from the moment she saw her, she was no different in her eyes.
“It’s refreshing to see and it’s nice to think she’ll always have a friend looking out for her when she starts school.”
As they girls have grown older, their sisterly bond has become even stronger.
Lisa added “The girls love playing together 24/7.
“If they aren’t climbing up our furniture they are playing hide and seek.
“Both of them love dressing up as princesses too, they have a lovely fancy dress box which they’re always playing in.
“We’ve only told Evie that her sister is ‘special’ the same as any sibling, but that she need may need extra help learning things but with the pace Ellie picks things up she’s barely behind.”
Ellie now goes to nursery two days a week and she loves going to play with her new friends.
Lisa said: “I was so terrified when I realised Ellie has Down’s Syndrome but she is amazing.
“I wouldn’t change her for the world, I’m so proud of both my girls.”
The family have been supported by Small Steps – a support group for children with Down’s Syndrome.
Alison Watson, Founder of the group, said: “When my Freya, now six, was born with Down’s syndrome, I set up Small Steps as I felt it was important to have a support network for parents such as myself.
“Lisa bought Ellie and Evie to Small Steps to learn sign language, play, explore and have fun among people who understand and can support any worries or concerns having a child with ds can bring.
“Evie’s relationship with Ellie is very special, very close.
“Ellie learns so much from Evie and children with down syndrome are generally very visual learners. “We want people to know that having DS is certainly not the end of the world.
“It’s all about taking Small Steps , and enjoying every one of them.”