Parenting

A child with Down Syndrome is set out to climb Mount Everest with Father

Shikha Batra
1 to 3 years

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on Apr 15, 2022

A child with Down Syndrome is set out to climb Mount Everest with Father

“People with Down syndrome can do anything- really, really, really anything!”

                                                                                                    -    Brittany Schiavone 

Avnish, a 7-year old boy with Down Syndrome from Indore is set out to just prove that. On April 13th he left to trek the Mount Everest base camp along with his father, Aditya Tiwari. His father  is a Pune-based software engineer by profession who adopted Avnish Tiwari five years ago. Their journey is an inspiration for the society and will help in changing perceptions about children with disabilities. 

The proud father revealed the purpose of their mission of heading to Mount Everest. He believes this will not only change the mindset about specially challenged children but would also give them an opportunity to explore different activities like trekking, mountain climbing, and many more, as well as show the beauty of the Himalayas to neurotypical and neurodivergent people. 

 

This is not the first time the father-son duo have created history:

Aditya Tiwari had become the youngest single male to have adopted a child suffering from Down’s syndrome and a hole in his heart. The legal battle lasted nearly a year and a half.  On January 1st, Aditya tiwari’s struggle for months paid off when he finally got the custody of Avnish. The journey of adopting Avnish was not an easy one for Aditya Tiwari. There were many hurdles which he had to face such as being a male, an unmarried one and that too just when he was 27 years old when the permissible age to adopt a child in India was 30 years up until October last year. The minimum age limit for a potential parent was later lowered to 25.  Aditya said “People discouraged me from adopting Avnish as they said it will be difficult to  cope with his medical needs. Some even went to the extent of saying that no girl would even marry me.” In his arduous journey of adopting Avnish he even got to learn the adoption laws in India which turned out to be quite unfavourable. He even wrote mails to all national leaders including the Prime Minister, requesting them to consider his case to be exceptional.  It took Tiwari almost one-and-a-half years to finally get Avnish’s custody which he says was worth it. 

 

In an interview Tiwari recalled “I met Avnish on September 13, 2014, when I visited an orphanage for the first time on the occasion of my father’s birthday. I came to know that all children had been adopted except one and they pointed at a handicapped child about five to six months old.” He further added “Nobody wanted to adopt the child, said the authorities. I thought if nobody wants to adopt him then I will.”

 

Training for this expedition started 6 months ago:

Aditya said, “On a day to day basis, we try not to miss out on cardio. For this trek, we have also emphasized health problems that can occur during the trek due to lack of oxygen. Considering this, being in great form is a priority for us.” Aditya further asserted “It requires a similar terrain to train for such a difficult trek. However, our previous trekking experience in Gulmarg,Pahalgam in Jammu &  kashmir and Ladakh will come in handy.” Everest south base camp is located at an altitude of 5,364 mts above mean sea level (MAMSL) and the father-son duo has already experienced an altitude of 3,500 MAMSL in Leh.  As a matter of fact, Avnish is also an athlete in the Special Olympics and currently training at the Army School in Mhow.

According to Tiwari people normally complete this expedition in 12 days, but it may take them 21 days. Aditya and Avnish will be accompanied by a guide, Sherpa and medical emergency which can airlift Avnish if needed. 

 

The sole reason for taking up this activity by the father-son duo:

Aditya Tiwari with his son Avnish Tiwari is set on the journey to change perceptions about children with disabilities.Breaking the general stereotypes about children with disabilities and thereby setting an example for the society, the father-son duo is set out on a trek to Mount Everest. The sole purpose of this expedition is to make people aware of the abilities of children with such disabilities.  Aditya added, “Children with disabilities can partake in a wide range of activities based on individual abilities and interests. However, something like trekking to the Everest base camp is being explored for the first time as an activity for a child with Down’s syndrome.” Avnish will be the first 7-year old child with a disability to achieve this feat, following this expedition. 

 

All you need to know about Down’s Syndrome:

 

Down’s syndrome also called trisomy 21, is a genetic chromosome 21 disorder causing developmental and intellectual delays. It is caused when an abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. 

 

Down’s syndrome symptoms include:

 

  • A distinct facial appearance with flattened face, small head, short neck, protruding tongue, upward slanting eye lids, unusually shaped or small ears, small hands and feet, loose joints.

  • Poor muscle tone

  • Delayed language 

  • Intellectual disability ranging from mild to severe with Short-term  and long-term memory affected

  • Developmental delays 

  • Learning disability

  • Short stature

  • Speech delays

 

Some of the possible complications that children with Down syndrome might have:

 

  • Seizures

  • Increased risk of having Immune disorders 

  • They have a greater tendency to be obese

  • They might have spinal problems

  • They may have a greatly increased risk of leukemia

  • They might have an increased risk of dementia

  • May have associated thyroid or heart disease or gastrointestinal disorders

  • Breathing issues, including sleep apnea, asthma, and pulmonary hypertension.

 

Treatment for Down’s syndrome:

 

Each child will have different needs as there is no one-size-fits -all approach to treatment.  The child might require to be treated by a team of doctors including your main doctor, and may be specialists like ear doctor, heart doctor and others. Some children benefit from therapies such as:

  • Speech-language therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Emotional and behavioral therapies

  • Special education 

 

Please pour in your valuable suggestions to add value to this blog. If you are satisfied with the information given in the blog, then please share it with fellow parents, family and friends.

 

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