Eren Kortunay - A cheerful young man with many skills

Eren Kortunay

Eren Kortunay loves making music. The 19-year-old with Down’s syndrome enjoys playing the guitar and singing with passion. He particularly enjoys applause – from family and friends in his own cellar or at performances with his theatre group, for example at the AWO House in Grenzstraße in Gelsenkirchen.

His parents describe him as a „special boy“. He is good at playing the guitar, singing and acting as well as speaking German, Turkish and English. „In the end, all people are equal, even if some have a handicap,“ his mother Nurcan Kortunay is convinced. With this in mind, Eren was and continues to be seen, encouraged and challenged at home.

Shortly after his birth, his mother found out that her son had Down’s syndrome. The hotel specialist informed herself intensively about the disability and implemented therapies for her son and continued them consistently at home: „Every day, for example, I practiced fine motor skills with Eren through play.“

„When you have a special child, you are busy non-stop,“ says Nurcan Kortunay, who has reduced her working hours for Eren. „ Imagine how happy we were when he was able to open his first yogurt on his own and eat it with a spoon!“ The family could not understand why Eren should be stripped of his foster care qualification because he was so well supported and therefore successfully fought against this decision in court.

It is important to the parents and their eleven-year-old older sister to make Eren independent. From an early age, he was allowed to buy his own cheese bun from the bakery – his mother always kept a watchful eye on him from outside and only intervened in emergencies, for example when the sales clerk refused to let the stuttering child speak. Today, he has no problems going to the supermarket on his own: „I enjoy it,“ he explains proudly. In restaurants, he places orders for the family – and pays and tips.

Thanks to his photographic memory, he is a good guide, among other things. He travels short distances alone by bus and train, and his mother always receives feedback by cell phone. After spending time in an integrative kindergarten, Eren now attends a special school. And by writing WhatsApp messages, he is getting better and better at reading and writing. Eren now has one more year of school ahead of him before he starts his job in a workshop.

Music is his hobby. He looks for videos on the internet and sings along to the songs. In addition to singing, which often involves dancing, he particularly likes Turkish love songs and pop songs. He says: „I’m a guy who likes to mix it up – sometimes I play the guitar, sometimes the keyboard.“ For Eren, it is not important to learn to play from sheet music – which is why he only had music lessons for a short time. He often has a music session with his father in the basement.

Eren has been part of the „Kiebitz integrative theatre group“ (KiT) for ten years. He enjoys the great company of the other participants. His mother is happy: „This has been Eren’s longest hobby so far. For me, it means that he feels comfortable and happy here.“ She knows how important theatre and dance are for the self-confidence of each individual participant – also an important form of therapy. „I’m proud that Eren is my son,“ says Nurcan Kortunay.

„I’m a guy who likes to mix it up – sometimes I play the guitar, sometimes the keyboard.“