Enrique is more alike than different from his classmates at UCP’s East Orange Charter School.
The fourth grader likes math and recess, but not always in that order. He loves to ride his bike, play games and has a best friend that he pals around with on the playground.
October’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month is full of good times for the Ramos family. They gather with thousands to walk around Orlando’s Lake Eola to raise funds for Down syndrome programs and services. The Orlando family also participates each March 21st in Down Syndrome Bowling Day, to commemorate the extra chromosome called trisomy 21 that causes 90 percent of Down syndrome cases.
Lisa Dunham is one of a team of teachers that have taught Enrique for the past three years in an inclusive classroom where 50 percent of the students have disabilities or delays and the other half are typically developing.
He’s (Enrique) adored by everyone, Dunham said.
“He is a child like any other with the same wants and the same needs,” said Doris Ramos of her second son. “Enrique is very friendly, very outspoken and outgoing and has a joyful spirit.”
That joy can be seen daily in the most minor moments that become major celebrations. The 10-year-old just learned to ride his bike without training wheels - a feat he accomplished by practicing “hundreds of times,” according to Enrique.
Every parent looks for developmental milestones and Ramos said parents of typically-developing children often take many of them for granted. She said she did with her oldest son, Antonio, 15.
“We expect our children to talk and walk but Enrique is such a hard worker and so determined,” said his mother, who added that Enrique started therapy at three months of age. “There is extra joy when he accomplishes something, like simply buttoning his pants. We always celebrate the little things.”
Ramos said Enrique is their “biggest blessing and has had such an impact on our lives. He has redefined love for us in the way he looks at life. He knows no stereotypes, doesn’t judge and just loves everyone.”
The Ramos family will be front and center at the 21st Annual Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. Please join them and the UCP family in celebrating Enrique.