Art enriches people’s lives. I have a passion for Raffaello and I’m studying his works”.
Alberto Sanna, 21 years old, has the down syndrome, and he loves mountains and art. He plays the piano using sheet music with colours instead of notes, but the result is the same.
Challenges do not frighten him anymore: despite his illness and thanks to the help and the support of his parents, Loredana and Antonio, he succeeded in passing his high school diploma exam and then he enroled in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the University of Insubria.
“Yesterday”, he tells, “I took the first part of the linguistic exam and I got 27. Today I started studying art; a new course attended by a few of us, but with whom I get on well.”
His dream is to become a television journalist and we do have to believe in our dreams. And this is something that his parents have been helping him with since he was born sharing with him their passion and curiosity.
“In my free time” continues Alberto, “I’m in the Varese Scouts group and I want to tell you about them because they helped me so much”. And what about exams? “I take them, I like studying, I already did sixteen exams. I still need to do others but I go on because I persevere”.
“I study by myself, with my parents, or with my friends.”
“At University I found a great help at the Disability Support office.” says Alberto’s mother. “In his studies he’s helped by a tutor that is gradually helping him to become independent and to learn how to cope with problems”.
He goes by himself to University, from Cavaria to Bizzozero. His grandfather takes him to the train station, where he catches the train and then the bus.
“Independence is an important quality that was taught to him during the high school” tells Loredana, “thanks to teachers that organised for him a study path that was important for his personal development”.
Her voice expresses happiness and satisfaction, but also the need to share with other parents this experience that changed her, that “made me an adult” as she says.
“We fought against prejudice from the beginning, we didn’t believe people that said he wasn’t able to understand certain concepts. Yes, there are difficulties but it’s a question of method. If he doesn’t understand something we try to explain it in a different way and more slowly. We’ve always focused on our son’s abilities, trying to stimulate and encourage him and he never disappointed us.
We were worried when he faced the graduation exam, but he was strong and he did it, and also teachers encouraged him to go on with his studies. What surprised us is how calm he is when he goes to take an exam. Maybe we are more worried than him. He has been helped also by psychologists that helped him to strengthen his self-esteem. Today he feels self confident.”
It’s never as simple as it seems, and you need to put in effort every day”.
“But our son gives us lot of satisfaction. That’s why I want to say to other parents that are coping with a similar experience to not lose their hearts. Don’t delegate to others, to school for example, the commitment to grow our own children, because we are the protagonists. The help that specialists give us is also fundamental, we can’t do it alone and in the end we must be always with our children and believe in them. I deleted the “he can’t do it” concept”.