The beginning of first grade was challenging for 7-year-old Aadi. “He’d walk into the room and go lie down on the floor. It was like he shut down,” says his dad, Suyash Mohan.
But with the support of his teachers, his parents, his sister and some of his peers, Aadi made some remarkable breakthroughs over the next several months.
By the end of the school year, he was raising his hand, following directions and answering the teacher’s questions appropriately. He can write all his letters, knows some sign language and can count to 20. He knows his colors and loves to paint and play matching games. He also enjoys going to swimming lessons and Bollywood dance classes with his 4-year-old sister, Aanya.
These milestones are incredibly meaningful to Aadi’s family — and they are all the more poignant because of everything Aadi has overcome to reach them.
Expert care from a caring team
Suyash and his wife, Rashmi, found out Aadi had Down syndrome after he was born. Aadi had difficulty meeting early milestones, like walking and talking, and had a speech impediment. “Everything was slower than normal,” says Suyash.
Suyash and Rashmi brought Aadi to the Trisomy 21 Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for an initial assessment and ongoing care coordination. The Trisomy 21 Program staff guided the family to Early Intervention services near the family’s home, and Aadi received physical, occupational and speech therapy before he was 3 years old.
Rashmi and Aadi also joined an aquatic therapy group offered by the Trisomy 21 Program in conjunction with the Department of Physical Therapy. The group meets once a week and helps children develop their motor and problem-solving skills. Aadi loves the sessions and has grown close to Helen Milligan, MPT, who leads the group.
“Aadi is just a joy to work with,” says Milligan. “And he’s come so far in his development.”
A champion — and an inspiration
This October, Aadi will celebrate another milestone: his first CHOP Buddy Walk® and Family Fun Day. His parents will join him for the event, as will Aanya, with whom he shares a special bond.
“They are very close and protective of each other,” says Rashmi.
As a Buddy Walk® Champion, Aadi will inspire others to live their lives to the fullest — something he does every single day.