When 10-year-old Jean-Joseph hears his father humming the song from Stromae: “Formidable, foormidable” (wonderful, wonderfuul), he is quick at answering: “yes, I know I am wonderful!”. Jean-Joseph, living with Down Syndrome, is indeed a little sunshine in Frédérique and Thierry’s family! Adopted when he was one, he turned up in a family that already counted four children, who were all delighted by his good mood!
It was when they realised how lucky they were to have healthy children that Frédérique and Thierry decided to open up their family and adopt a disabled child. They thus included their children in the project in order to best welcome Jean-Joseph and offer him a family. The young boy found his place easily amongst his four older brothers, who will no longer be at home from this year onwards but keep a close contact with him. He is the one who always make everyone else laugh and his joy is very catching. He is a true richness for the family!
For school, Jean-Joseph goes to an IME (French medico-educational institute) but like most boys of his age, he is does not like learning much. He finds it difficult to stay concentrated for long and is easily discouraged when things do not work out the way they are supposed to. Indeed, school is not always fun, and for a boy with so much humour and cheerfulness, it is hard to imagine going through life without constantly having fun! Thus, games are the solution to advance and make progress: when something is fun it becomes much easier. His parents and the speech therapist, who has been following him since he was 9, have understood that perfectly. In order to become more autonomous and not forget anything, Jean-Joseph’s life is well set and organised. When people trust him and believe in him, he progresses at his own speed. As pointed out by his mother, it is simply a matter of understanding that “Jean-Joseph’s speed is not our speed!”.
Outside school, Jean-Joseph also takes part in various activities, of which the outings and games in the countryside with the scouts. It has been three years since he joined the pack and he likes to remind people he is “a true cub”. He is indeed a happy and joyful little bunny!
Finally, Jean-Joseph’s other main activity is music. His passion goes back a long way: his sister Clotilde, who is now 18, introduced him to the piano, his brother Timothy, who is now 20, to the guitar, and he loves singing. This year however he has decided to specialise in cello, an instrument which he liked as soon as he discovered it during the open day of the music school last year. Thus he determinedly follows his half and hour cello lesson and one hour of initiation to music every weak. Little by little he is making progress, patiently imitating his teacher, who always plays along with him to help him. Self-esteem being the best incentive, he manages to progress because he feels valued. There is pride in his eyes and a large smile on his face as he tells us about giving his first audition is April! A very fine moment, so a great thanks to Jean-Joseph and a great “you are welcome”!