The best way to promote awareness of Down syndrome is for people with Down syndrome to share their own stories in their own words.
“For World Down Syndrome Day I tasked myself to spread awareness for my daughter Hiddah. Small steps at a time, I started with her class, I wanted the students in her class to be more caring and helpful and to understand why special children act in a certain way, or the challenges they face.
Pupils were encouraged to wear their #LotOfSocks to support diversity. They coloured and designed their own odd socks and made their own DIY badge for Down syndrome.
Teachers discussed facts about children with Down Syndrome, and how they are special.
Most importantly the activities were to get everyone talking about Down syndrome – that’s at least 30 families who will know more about Down Syndrome.”
“Hi! I am Reansh Sarup from India.
I love music, books, flashcards and spending time at the beach!
I am determined to add joy to your lives, change perceptions and help create the right perspective for individuals with Down syndrome.”
“Our beautiful 6 year old Carmen is our wonderful gift from God. We knew that Carmen would have Down syndrome through genetic testing. My husband and I were newlyweds and we now had to get a nursery ready! At 44 (me) and 50 (him), we knew the chances to conceive were slim. God’s plan was pure and wonderful! When we had Carmen in our arms for the first time we understood the immense love God has for us.
We are most proud that Carmen is a loving human being to everyone she meets. She loves her Catholic faith, the ocean, and traveling.
We are blessed that we were able to give Carmen the experience of a road trip to Montana before the pandemic. We visited Glacier National Park with our our extended family from California and Florida. She hiked, kayaked, and bonded with her cousins.
As a family we thoroughly enjoy this life that God has graced us with our Carmen. We are proud that Carmen has thrived during this pandemic. She has learned a lot of prayers as she has a great memory, enjoys reading, and loves to dance. We want others to understand that she must have the exact same level of acceptance as anyone in the world. Looking forward to traveling in the near future to visit our family again!”
“My musical partner in the project dramulettO is Katharina Reichelt. She has Down syndrome and plays the cello as a performing artist. She also works with a clown therapist in a hospital in Saarbrücken. Together, we performed classical and modern music at various events all around Germany, like in Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Bremen, Ludwigsburg and many other cities. We had the great honor to perform in the presence of the current President of Germany, F. W. Steinmeier, and the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, among many other supporters of inclusion.
Here we show our performance for the ArtSocial21.”
“Hello all. I’m a mother of two daughters. My elder daughter has Down syndrome; her name is Kin Naychi Khin and she is nearly 18 years old. When she was born, in Myanmar there was no awareness of Down syndrome. In those days every single day was challenging for me and my husband. I was so worried about her future. Luckily my Uncle bring a news letter from DSA of UK and I had a chance to visit them when my daughter was 4 years old. I brought a lot of books and some teaching aids to my country and I started to train her. In 2015 I formed Myanmar Down Syndrome association (MDSA) with 15 active parents and we celebrated the first World Down Syndrome Day in Myanmar. I was still struggling for my daughter’s future and career. I would like to share with all family of people with Down syndrome all over the world “Where there’s is a will, there’s a way” Thanks.”
“My name is Akira Ozaki. I am working at the Prince Hotel in Hiroshima.
I went to Scotland to participate in the World Syndrome Congress in Glasgow. I made a speech in front of the people from many places in the world. I wrote my speech script with Fujiyama who helped me to make a speech in English. I practiced it many times. I was nervous. But when I started to speak, I felt very relaxed. I think I made a good speech. I became confident after the speech. There are many interesting and exciting things we, Japanese, don’t know. I want to visit many places in the world. I want to learn speaking English.”
My name is Kaylee Rose, I live in Grande Prairie Alberta. I am a grade 12 student, excited to graduate this year. Before COVID, I was training for the Special Olympics in Rhythmic Gymnastics and working as a weekend receptionist at a vehicle dealership. I have applied to take part in the inclusive program for Drama at our local college in the fall. I am just waiting to hear back about wether they will have a spot for me for 2021, or if I’ll have to wait another year. My dream job would be to model or act, I really enjoy both.
“I am Rashmi Rekha Sahu aged 37 with Down syndrome from Bhubaneswar Odisha India. I am a classical oddise dancer. I love myself, my family, love music. I love my friends like me. I am working with slum area. I give my best for form of Down syndrome group. I am a president Awardee. I am very interested to network with Down syndrome field. I am a lovely, sweet, proud daughter of my parents. My parents give me support to grow my every step. My best friend is my lovely mother.
From the childhood, my every day life became stories. I thank you and your group I am the part of this world Down syndrome group. It is my pleasure.”
“Saransh is my younger brother and my family’s greatest blessing. He makes us a better, kinder person each day. Whenever we look at him, it warms our heart. He has inspired my life in a paramount way and has given me a vision, each day I dream and work towards creating a more inclusive world for the differently abled.
Saransh is a very creative person, he loves dancing and music. He plays tabla and harmonica. He also uses his imagination to write one essay each day based on his daily life. For example, we recently gifted him two rabbits, who are named Suhani and Roshni, he takes care of them and wrote an essay on them based on his experiences. He is very disciplined.
He is a very lovable and huggable person and my friends and teachers love him. He has come to my college many times and performed dance and plays, same way we keep visiting his school to meet and play with him and his friends.”
“I found out that Daniel might have Down Syndrome during the first trimester of my pregnancy. I was terrified and fearful, and my biggest struggle then was that I didn’t know if I can love a child with Down Syndrome. Fast forward three years later, my heart is bursting with love whenever I see Daniel. Everything about him sparks joy – his smile, his twinkling almond shaped eyes, and his endearing personality. Daniel is such a sweet natured boy and he has strong empathy for other people even at a young age – he will be the first to bring a tissue paper to the friend crying in class. I don’t know what the future holds for Daniel, but I know that the sky is the limit for him and my role as a mother is to keep advocating for an inclusive world where people like Daniel are accepted and loved.”
“My name is Jaafar, we live in Sweden and our root from Iraq.
I am studying in high school now.
I am very proud of my chromosome that’s why I am self advocate. Me and my family are raising awareness through our facebook page “@ProudofmyChromosome” with more than 5000 followers. We share hope through our experience to show the world who are the people with Down syndrome and what can they do.
My biggest challenge when I fighted the leukemia (blood cancer). It was tough time but we passed it.
We should live for today and don’t be worried about the future. Stop Missing Out On The Present Because You’re Looking To The Future.”
Sophie is a sassy 16 year old who lives and loves life to the full. She loves to sing, dance, act and perform. She loves unconditionally and brings joy to all she meets. Sophie is also an Ambassador for Celebrate T21 Australia. She has changed our lives for the better.
Each year to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) I create my “Celebrating Sophie” video.
Please take the time to share my video far and wide to spread awareness of Down syndrome and World Down Syndrome Day.
“I absolutely love my friends and family. I had a job but with Covid I lost it. I listen to all kinds of music, I love doing word search, majong and sudoku. I love to sing and dance and have friends over to watch movies, play games or just hang out. Peace out Everyone.”
Isabella Izquierdo is 20 years old and lives in Caracas, Venezuela. Since the day she was born, she has proven her endless determination to reach all her goals , and last year she told us she wants to become a model!
Her condition was a surprise to everyone. The same day she was born she was diagnosed with a cardiopathy that required an emergency operation and a long recovery.
Also, she is an Olympic athlete champion! She has represented Venezuela twice in the Special Olympics Word Games in gymnastics and has won more than 10 medals in international competitionsBesides her multiple stimulation therapies since she was a baby, she has been in different activities that have allowed her to integrate with regular kids like swimming, ballet, jazz, and tap
Her joyful and outgoing personality has given her a chance to record a TV commercial a movie trailer fashion runways and most recently, participate in some campaigns for some clothes brands
is a self-advocacy family project. It comes from the desire to show our society that people with Down syndrome can participate in their communities, work environment, education, sports, and why not in the fashion industry?
“When I was born, the doctors didn’t expect much of me. They diagnosed me with Down syndrome shortly after I arrived, and all the “she’ll never be able to do…” advice came after.
But I defied the doctor’s expectations because while they saw a diagnosis, my parents just saw their little girl. So as I grew up, I tumbled in gymnastics, rode on horseback, and swam through the pool for the Special Olympics. In high school, my life really thrived. I became a member of the school’s typical dance ensemble and walked the runway in my school’s fashion show twice (once on the arm of my principal!). I went to three proms. And I graduated high school.
I always thought I was destined for the stage—I loved to act and sing. I just never knew my stage would take the form of my own nonprofit. Today, I am the founder of Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, a 501(c)3 nonprofit on a mission to spread resources, hope, and love to families welcoming new babies with Down syndrome into their lives. To date, we’ve sent over 1,200 welcome baskets to families in every state.
I may not sing on stage for a living (not yet, at least!), but this platform has connected me to a whole community that reminds me of the power of following your calling and letting others know they’re not alone. As I always say, “People with Down syndrome can do anything—really, really anything.”
“Hi my name is Manas. I am an artist and a dancer. I also play tennis. I do yoga on zoom. I turned 21 this year.
I used to live in Chennai, now I am in Bangalore.
I live with my parents and go to my sister’s house for sleepovers often.
My favourite things to eat are Dal Makhni, Palak Paneer and mango ice cream.”
Karin Liza’s struggle to be a full citizen begins in 2012 when she met the Sociedad Peruana de Síndrome Down (SPSD). So, she and her mother decide to ask the court of the Peruvian government to restore her legal capacity, after she has been declared as incapable. Karin’s triumph is achieved in October 2019 where she is recognized as an autonomous person with the right to make her own decisions and express her will. Actually, Karin works, supports her mother and is Self-Advocate of Sociedad Peruana de Síndrome Down.
Mishka and Mandinee
“We are Mishka and Mandinee from Mauritius.
We are 24 years old and are members of the Youth with Disabilities Platform.
We love dressing up and are always following the latest trends. Our dream is to become stylists or models as we love fashion.
We often do photoshoots and are in the process of creating a professional portfolio soon.
We have been to mainstream schools when we were younger and are able to read, write and count. We wish to be independent professionally and start our own fashion industry in the future.”
“My name is Rita. I love to do art and I have a book of my art being published in Fall 2021. My job is at Coffee Shed part of Common Ground Co-op, and I will go back after covid. I also go to the Dani-Toronto day program. I love to make birthday cards for people.”
See Rita’s Art Book
“My name is Shari and I am 14 years old. I live in London with my parents – Richmond and Andrea.
During the lockdown my parents and I took lots of walks in the nearby park. There were not many people in the park but there were many ducks and swans in the pond and I love to watch them. It was pretty cold so I put my hands into my pockets and walked as fast as I could.
I miss school; I miss my teachers and my friends. I have to do my schoolwork at home. My mother and I play with the Pocket Learner cards. I like to look at the pictures and read the words. I sometimes go to see my friend Nic and sleep at her house. It is lots of fun and we dance and sing and make a cake. I love to eat cake. It is my favourite!
My teacher wants me to do a music video. I have to sing and dance. I didn’t go away on holidays but I’m having fun at home with mom and dad.”
“My name is Trudell Edwards. I am 14yrs old. I live in Bermuda. I enjoy playing football and sailing. My dream is to someday get married and be able to work and be independent. I love to cook and swim also dressing up is also something I enjoy doing. Perhaps one day I will be able to work with dolphins as a trainer or be a chef. I know that i have to work hard at achieving my goals.”
“My son Joshua is 7 years old and has participated in the special Olympics in East London, he has obtained 3 medals. He is also a good organized boy, he likes dancing, soccer, and listening to the preaching of the church pastor. He is also considerate with others and has a giant smile, we are proud to have it.”
“I don’t like to hear the word of Down Syndrome when TV and Newspaper tell the people about NIPT. I went to regular high school. I wanted to tell the classmates that I have Down Syndrome and I live a happy life. When the teacher asked me why I wanted to go to regular high school, I answered that I wanted any mother not to kill their babies.”
“May name is Raz, I am 8 years old. I am different from others, and this difference is a gift from God that God has given us. With me is my father, my mother, my grandmother and my sisters. I go to a private school. My ambition is to reach a country that respects me and fulfills my wish to live like other people because we have talents and good qualities. I have participated in several activities and celebrations and was ranked first in terms of elegance and beauty.”
“Hi my name is Matt O’Neil. I am passionate about my community, and raising awareness about Down syndrome. I am the Chair of Down Syndrome Victoria’s Advisory Network in Victoria, Australia. A new group passionate about developing new ideas, strengthening community understanding of Down syndrome, and advocacy. I always try to be a good leader, a role model and to look out for the rights of people with a disability. I like to go to events, meet new people, and make friends. In 2020 this was hard! I’m glad we can get together with friends now.”
“When I was born people like me were seen as a burden on their parents and society. We were mostly hidden in institutions or at the back of homes.
Mainstream schools did not want me because they said I would give their school a bad name. My IQ was acceptable, but my face was wrong. When I was eventually admitted into a mainstream school no amendments were made for me. I had to work much harder than the other students, but I never gave up. I believe you are only a failure when you give up trying.
I am the first person with Down syndrome to pass a mainstream Grade 10-curriculum in South Africa. After that I attended a National Technical College, and there I passed my Grade 12 examinations.
When I was small, I was perceived as destined to fail in life. But the impossible journey is the one you never began. No person with a disadvantage should be excluded from opportunities to develop. We must all work hard to reach our true potential. I do so every day and I try to inspire others to do the same. People excel differently. I would have liked to be as bright as many other people, but I have learned to make the best of who I am. Can you say the same?
I am so happy to work as an Assistant Teacher at a school for learners with intellectual disabilities. I help the teacher with lessons and to stimulate the learners. The children accept me as teacher and they often come to me with their problems because they can relate to me. I can honestly not believe all the wonderful things I have been blessed with. Apart from being chosen as South Africa’s “Woman of the year” some years ago, I have had the opportunity to address conferences of the United Nations in New York and in Genève, Switzerland. During those speeches I advocated for the rights of disadvantaged people with intellectual disabilities all over the world. My extra chromosome has given me wonderful opportunities.
Remember to believe in yourself. We’ve all got this one, precious life. What are we going to do with yours? Today a person with Down syndrome challenges you to be the best you can be.”
“Hi, My name is Elena..I am 24 & I have Down syndrome.
When I was born my mum was worried and scared because she didn’t know if I would walk, or talk, be able to dress myself or ever get a job. HOW WRONG WAS SHE!
I went to mainstream school…yes it was hard at times as I didnt know how to react to some of my teachers & they to me…but my Mum just kept helping them to understand me….I even left school with a GSCE in Science plus Various Btech diplomas in other subjects.
I spent 2 years at college for people with special needs…it was mainly life skills like how to clean, cook & use money.
When I was 20 we found day centres where I’ve done Massage & pamper, Current affairs, music & many more. At one of my centres I have been out cycling on adapted trikes which I love.
But my main thing to tell you is…I HAVE A JOB !!! Yes 1 day a week and paid! I work for a safety training company through the Down Syndrome Association Workfit programme.
I clean, organise the refreshments for people on the courses, filing, shopping lists & the post. I have a company uniform and the people I work with are fab. They love my teas and coffees & my singing to the radio when I’m hoovering (my mum says she doesnt think so !)
My mum is so proud of me and still says she cant believe she was so worried when I was born.”
“Hi, my name is Claire. I live in County Kilkenny.
I am most proud of the time I was asked to be a guest lecturer for a group of students studying PE teaching in UCC. I taught them all how to play bocce and how important inclusion is.
I enjoy exercising, baking cakes and playing music.
I am looking forward to the end of lockdown.”
“When Nahom was born the whole family celebrated the new arrival.
When Nahom was 5 months old we noticed that he was growing slowly and had some other problems so we took him to the hospital. The doctor was afraid to tell us that he had Down syndrome.
Nahom needed heart surgery but that is difficult to get in Ethipia, let alone for children with Down syndrome. We searched online and found a Cardiologist in India who treated our son. It was very expensive and we needed help from Save The Children Ethiopia and our friends and family to pay the medical bills. We thank God and all of our supporters for our joyful son!
Children with Down syndrome are neglected in Ethiopia. There is no education. Parents are embarassed to take their children out of theri home.
It is my dream to open a school for children with Down syndrome in Bahir Dar city.”
– Solomon, Father of Nahom
“My name is Morgan. I am Indonesian, 22 years old. I speak 3 languages: Indonesian, French and English.
During the COVID-19 pandemic I co-wrote guidelines on Covid-19 in simple language. My mum and I have been running weekly classes with me as her class assistant. I had 3 months training and if you know my mum you would believe that it was not an easy training that she gave me! But now I can be proud of my self because I get paid by the organization for what I do in class.
My story as self-advocate was featured and published in October 2020 in a book called Narrative Power Collective Action Part 2. I am the only human rights activist with an intellectual disability featured in the book with other 29 social activists from all over the world.”
“My name is Kate. I would like to share one of my memories with you. Back in 2012 I was a member of the Greater London Special Olympic Swimming team. That year the Great Britain 10K race was being held in London and one of their chosen charities was the Special Olympics. I was asked to represent the Special Olympics and join the celebrities on board an open topped London bus which was at the start of the race in Picadilly. Before the race I was invited to have breakfast at the Ritz hotel with Deputy Mayor of Westminster who was due to start the race. What an exciting and memorable day that was.”
Adit is 18 years old. He has overcome many challenges. He was late to walk and talk and when Adit was finally able to speak, it was very hard to understand what he was saying.
Beating a drum with a stick was one of the therapies that helped Adit. He has been doing this since the age of 3, and by the age of 12 he began to show great improvement and interest in his training. Adit’s skill continues to grow to such an extent that he has had several opportunities to perform on national television. Now his dream is to become a professional drummer known throughout the world.