“I’m taking small steps, but I’m proud of every step forward I make.” – Prarry, 8
My name is Praetara Inthichit. My family calls me Prarry, for short. I am 8 years old. I have Down Syndrome. I am also partially blind. When I was much younger, I didn’t dare to do anything on my own. I was scared and depended on my family to help me with every task. I was shy and didn’t have any friends.
My father found out about the Special Olympics Young Athletes program and attended a training session with them. When he came home, he started adapting different household items and furniture to create spaces for me to climb, squeeze through, or cross over – like a mini obstacle course. My parents played with me and it was really fun. I enjoyed myself.
My family then encouraged me to go outside and play these games with the children in my neighborhood. My parents took a long time to convince me. My neighbors were also very understanding, and I eventually came out of my shell and interacted with other children.
Later, my father went overseas to work, but my mother, grandmother, and younger sister would continue to play with me regularly. We did the obstacle course together and simple Young Athletes activities like throwing, catching, jumping. I felt stronger and more confident to interact with others.
Last year, I joined the Sisaket province Municipal School, a small integrated school for children with and without intellectual disabilities in Northeastern Thailand. There are only 10 students in my cohort, and I am the only one with disabilities. To help me adjust, the school allowed me to attend just the morning session.
At school, I’m not very chatty, but I no longer feel so afraid to make friends. My classmates are nice to me. They say I’m very polite. From next term, I will start attending school full-time, and I’m looking forward to it. Every step is a step forward. And that’s good enough for me!