Ségolène, living with Down Syndrome, is 27 and in a few days her life is going to change. Followed from a very early age by Professor Lejeune, Ségolène regularly phones the Foundation to tell them what she is up to, especially when something important is going on in her life. Talking of which, a major event is, indeed, about to happen: she is about to become independent!
When we spoke to her over the phone last November, Ségolène was getting all excited about the final preparations. The painting was nearly finished thanks to her parent’s precious help: brand new turquoise walls in accord with the future occupant’s wishes. As for the furniture, Ségolène went through a whole pile of magazines, and gave her sister Laeticia and her brother Marc-Alain very clear instruction as to which bed, sofa, etc., she wanted. Her other brother, Matthew, will be looking into the final details.
Everything has to be ready for the house warming party, planned for the end of December.
Because Ségolène is good at throwing parties and really enjoys having them. She tells us all about what fun it is to prepare cakes, biscuits, orange juice, and Coca-Cola for her guests.
This party will be a good opportunity to thank all the people who have helped her through this great change in her life; that probably includes a lot of people. First, of all the important people she invited, there is the mayor, her employer. Indeed, she works at the Sainte Jeanne d’Arc school canteen, and therefore works for the town. Ségolène has been writing a speech for the said mayor who will be coming with the young woman’s colleagues. With them will turn up her many friends, who have helped her along during this important phase of her life. None of all this would have been possible without the help from the “Un Toit et Moi” association which enables people living with intellectual disabilities to have their own flat. Every evening a helper knocks on every door and each resident can either go and have a meal with the others or receive help with the preparation of a meal at home. The helper also offers to simply keep each person company for a short while.
Stéphane, Thomas, and Peggy will therefore be there to help her move into her new life.
Though Ségolène is overjoyed with this new stage of her life, her parents, however, are less enthusiastic when they come to think about the day she will be moving out. Used to being three in the house since the elder ones moved out, they didn’t think that she would be ready to live her own life so quickly. As they admit, they are probably the ones to be the most rattled by this whole story. They have a thousand questions going round and round in their heads: is it really the right time? How is she going to manage? And, more than anything else, how are they going to handle the departure of the one they describe as “the soul of the house”? To these questions, Ségolène answers with a simple “Mum, dad, you’ve been living with a child for the last 38 years, you need to move on”.
As usual when it comes to Ségolène, they are a bit unsettled by this challenge. But there again, that is also what life is about when you live with someone like her: moving on slowly, step by step. The obstacles all seem unsurmountable, but Ségolène, full of joy, helps her parents to overcome them.
Ségolène by her parent’s side with Mrs. Nadia Menaceur, in charge of the residence “Des Près” at Mouvaux.