Adults with Down syndrome typically have an IQ equivalent to that of a 9-year-old child and are not expected to be matured and intelligent enough to hold a job but time and again, plenty of them have shattered stereotypes by obtaining work and actually being good at what they do!
In Cordoba, Argentina, another person with Down syndrome has shattered yet another stereotype and has surely created a new milestone – by becoming the world’s first teacher with Down syndrome!
As a child, Noelia Garella was bullied for her looks, with other kids calling her a ‘monster’. While she managed to overcome challenges and maintained a positive outlook in life, her struggles continued even as an adult.
Even when she completed her studies and became licensed as a teacher, it was difficult for her to find a job because everyone had a prejudice over her condition – and this was made even harder by the fact that people in Argentina had been debating whether kids with Down syndrome should be accepted in the public school system!
When Alejandra Senestrari, the former director of the Jermonito nursery where Garella is working, hired her, the decision was met with protest by several parents and school staff. A principal called Garella a ‘monster’ – just as the kids had once called her while she was growing up!
But these did not deter Garella. Amazingly, the parents and staff who were once opposed to having her teach in the school are now among those who are singing praises of Garella as the world’s first teacher with Down syndrome!
“With time, even those who had been opposed joined in the initiative to hire Noe as a teacher. We very quickly realized that she had a strong vocation. She gave what the children in the nursery classes most appreciate, which is love,” Senestrari revealed.
Garella has been teaching since 2012 –and she truly enjoys her job!
“I always feel good with the children. Their parents love me and the other teachers and principals I have had are wonderful,” she said. “I have a boy with Down syndrome in my class. He is wonderful. Oh, it is lovely when someone like me is born.”