Couple with Down syndrome daughter share their struggles

Couple with Down syndrome daughter share their struggles
Mr Tay Keng Lim, 50, and his wife Madam Leong Lai Cheng, 49, thought they had the perfect family with a son and daughter. Their dreams were shattered when the doctor diagnosed their daughter Mei Yee, 21, (in pink, centre) with Down Syndrome.

The couple thought they would have the "perfect" family - a son and daughter.

But Mr Tay Keng Lim and his wife's dream was shattered when the doctor broke the news that Mei Yee, their newborn girl, was suspected of having Down syndrome.

This genetic disorder, which varies in severity, causes lifelong intellectual disability and developmental delays. In some, it causes health problems.

That was in 1993 and it marked the beginning of the couple's distress.

The stress that parents face when caring for their sick children was in the spotlight last week after Rebecca Loh, 32, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for pushing her 11-year-old son to his death.

Loh, a schizophrenic, had wanted to only injure her son, who was stricken with a suite of medical conditions, so he would be taken away from her and get better care.

Recalling the day Mei Yee was born, Mr Tay, now 50, told The New Paper: "I was just telling my wife she looks like her older brother after she was born."

Not long after, their happiness was taken away in a cruel twist of fate.

"When my wife was resting in bed, the doctor told us he suspected Mei Yee of having Down syndrome, but needed a week for the test results to confirm it," said Mr Tay, a freelance actor and drama teacher .

Mr Tay and his wife, Madam Leong Lai Cheng, 49, hoped fervently that the doctor was wrong, but their hopes were in vain. The couple did not know much about the disorder at the time.

"She wouldn't know how to take care of herself. Can she talk? Can she go to school? How can we help her get there? All these questions started coming up," said the father of three.

"There was worry and fear, but also a certain level of acceptance. The chromosomal test had proven it, no point still hoping."

They started looking up resources that would help their daughter.

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