This is our daughter Elysha. She has Down Syndrome.She is six years old and has a twin brother, Aaron. He is fine.
Before the twins were born Aileen was learning sign language to become an interpreter.This was to become one of the best things to happen for Elysha.

We started using sign language with her at an early age as we knew that spoken language would be a long time coming. Aaron picked it up right away but we persevered for a long time with Elysha before she signed her first sign. Once she grasped the concept there was no stopping her.

Many people are under the illusion that using sign language will stop speech development but I think Elysha has proved the opposite as her language skills have improved immensely since using it. She
has mastered a large range of signs and between sign and spoken language we have bridged the communication barrier. Sign language has been absolutely fantastic for us.

Elysha has a bubbly and cheeky personality and we love her dearly. Elysha is now involved in the Signing Choir and enjoying her skill as a bilingual person.
John (Elysha’s dad)

Time for an update on Elysha. The twins are now 7 1/2 years old. Elysha is back at school. She is in an IO unit at a mainstream school. We are also having her do inclusion time in the hearing unit. We are hoping that it will be close to 50 – 50 time spent in both. Elysha fits in quite well and will get lots of help with her communication skills.

The new photo is of the twins towards the end of 1999. We feel its a great photo as it shows the family similarities. Elysha has since had her hair cut quite a bit shorter. When I look at Elysha these days I wonder if she will become an actress -once she can be understood – as she is such a full on goer – singing, dressing up, play acting and generally letting the world know she is here and pleased to be here.
Aileen (Elysha’s mum)