Melissa was born on the  17th August 1982,  a chubby  3.9 kilograms,  after a trouble free  pregnancy and quick birth.  She was  beautiful,  with huge blue eyes,  and a mop of long black hair.  An angel from above.  We were told within a few hours that she was  fine but appeared to have too many red blood cells which could lead to serious  jaundice unless she had an immediate transfusion.  This was done,  and she underwent the procedure without a  murmer. 

Melissaís favourite Aunt and  Godmother feeding first solids at 4 months

She was the light of our  lives, and we lived with the continuous  vomiting,  which was put down to  allergies,  as this did not seem to  affect her in any way,  as she continued  to thrive and gained weight as expected.

She was a delightfully happy  baby who caused little fuss,  except for  rocking herself backwards at every opportunity.  Which we thought was really cute.  She was strong and held her head erect almost  from birth.  She sat unaided at 6  months  and started to pull herself  along on her tummy from 5 months  she  never really crawled much,  but started  pulling herself up on to her feet from 9 months  but she only began to walk at 21 months.  We were concerned over her lack of  speech,  but were assured that she was  not abnormally slow as she did say the odd words by the time she was  2.

Melissa front right at age 9  months on a visit to England

We eventually persuaded our  family doctor to arrange an appointment with a visiting Geneticist from Cape  Town,  who finally confirmed our fears by  diagnosing Melissa with RTS.¬  Unfortunately the information we were given was very limited,  basically the original findings of Drs.  Rubinstein and Taybi,  which consisted of  approximately 5 pages of information.

We were advised to treat her  as normal,  but to consider her  limitations,  which we did.  I entered her into a play group as we  considered this might help her to develop her speech,  she was already attending speech therapy once  per week,  and the therapist felt this  would also benefit her,  which it  did,  and she quickly learnt to hold her  own in that department.

Front center in Christmas  concert.

She loved nursery school and  took part fully in all activities including the concerts  which she loved and remained there until age  5,  when she entered the local  pre-primary class.

From then on we have simply  continued to do the best we could to ensure her happiness,  she stayed at the school until age 12,  when she indicated that she was under  stress,  we then transferred her to a  special remedial school,  where she has  continued to grow and enjoy the process.
She is pretty independent in  most ways,  her speech is adequate and  easily understood even by strangers,  however she does get  frustrated  when she cannot explain herself properly,  and has to think over what she wants to say.  She is able to stay on her own in the  afternoons for an hour or so,  and keeps  herself amused with the computer and television,  and can manage to help herself in most  respects.  She gets herself up for  school,  and some mornings even makes her  own breakfast and packs her own lunch, after coming through to tell me to stay  in bed.  I leave her to get on with it as  it shows her independence. 

First day of big school,  age 5. 

She has been on numerous away  trips with her school,  and they are  expected to help with the cooking,  cleaning etc., while away,  which  she loves.  She also works one day per  week at the local hairdressers,  helping  out in various ways.

 We doní know what the future  holds,  but we leave that in Gods  hands,  knowing that she is one of his  Angels,  and has been sent to us to care  for as best we can.  She is loved by all  especially her big Brother Kevin,  the  hero in her life,  and her sister Tracey  who you can read about on the Siblings pages. 

Washing dishes on a school  trip in 1999,  age  17.

Tracy's Poem about Melissa

Adele Meusel
realtors@netactive.co.za

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