Today is World Down Syndrome Day, so to mark the occasion, here are just a few inspirational people who have Down Syndrome.

(As the author of this post, I acknowledge the divide existing within communities of people with Down Syndrome between those who prefer the term “Down’s Syndrome” and “Down Syndrome”. For the sake of this article I will use the term “Down Syndrome”, but understand that this is not everyone’s preference.)

Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart is an Australian model, who at the age of just 20 has appeared in New York Fashion Week, CNN, Vogue, and has an enormous social media following. Madeline is described as a “worldwide phenomenon” and a “powerful advocate for inclusiveness and diversity in modelling".

You can Like her on Facebook here; https://www.facebook.com/madelinesmodelling/, or follow her on insta @madelinesmodelling_

 

Jillian Daugherty and her father

Jillian Daughtery’s father wrote her an open letter on her wedding day, where he commended her for all of her incredible personality traits and explains how her full-life and wonderful personality meant that he stopped worrying that she would miss out on things, or not have a normal life.

You can read the whole (enormously emotional) letter here; https://themighty.com/2015/08/letter-to-my-daughter-with-down-syndrome-on-her-wedding-day/, and you can read some of Jillian’s wisdom about love, on her one year anniversary, here; https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/07/08/we-never-stop-loving-each-other-jillian-and-ryan-celebrate-first-anniversary/86719292/

 

The cast of No Offence

The first series of this gritty yet lovable series was the first time that many people had seen actors with Down Syndrome on screen. The show has been commended for the range, depth, and diversity of characters, and for showing the characters with Down Syndrome as having unique personalities, and as being young adults. You can watch some of the actors talking about their experience (and see a few clips of them in action) here; http://www.channel4.com/programmes/no-offence/videos/all/acting-with-dow...

 

The cast of BBC 3’s “Things people with Down Syndrome are tired of hearing”

Part of a BBC 3 series where people discuss annoying stereotypes that are often levelled against them, this short film shows several people with Down Syndrome discussing assumptions about learning habits, relationships, and being infantilised. You can watch the whole clip here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAPmGW-GDHA

 

Zhou Zhou

Zhou Zhou is the only conductor in the world who cannot read music. Someone once saw him miming conducting, as he watched a symphony, and jokingly asked if he’d like to conduct them. To their utter amazement, he did so and since has conducted many orchestras around the globe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Obk94NYws&feature=youtu.be

Tim Harris

Tim’s Place, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the only restaurant in the USA owned by a person with Down Syndrome. Tim’s Place was known for serving up breakfast, lunch, and hugs, and emphasises its own friendly, family-feel. Recently, Tim has made the decision to shut his restaurant, to move closer to his girlfriend, where he hopes to open a new branch.

Ayelen Barreiro

Ayelen was a dancer on the Argentinian show “Showmatch” (think Argentinian Strictly Come Dancing). Her boyfriend, who also has Down Syndrome, also shot to fame due to his popularity in front of the camera. Although Ayelen didn’t win the show, she did a lot to change people’s perceptions of those with Down Syndrome and captivated the audience with her talent.

 
Take a look at the World Down Syndrome Day website for more information, fundraising, and to find out more about their #WhatIBringToMyCommunity campaign.
 
 

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