Nine-year-old Umair has Down’s syndrome. His father and paternal grandparents were exposed to gas from Union Carbide’s factory when his father was only four years old. His grandparents both suffered damage to their eyes, and his grandfather’s vision has deteriorated further over the years.
Umair has been receiving physiotherapy, speech therapy and special education every day at Chingari for the past five years. Although he learned to walk as a child, he struggles with balance and coordination. Since attending Chingari, he has learned to walk longer distances without support, climb stairs and steep slopes, and improved his hand-eye coordination through sports activities like throwing and catching. He has also learned to dress and feed himself, to recite the alphabet and his numbers from 1 to 10. Umair still communicates only with single words most of the time, but he has expanded his vocabulary and is better at communicating his desires and needs.
Umair’s favourite things are ice cream, which he asks for constantly, submerging his biscuits entirely in his tea, and watching TV while sitting in a ‘horse’ position taught to him by his occupational therapist. He also loves to play with his sister and cousins, who adore him and like to hug him and bring him toys to play with.