People With Down Syndrome Are Finally Taking The World By Storm!

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It is official! My daughter wants to be a teacher.  She is 8 and probably a little late in zeroing on the profession she wants to pursue, but she has finally made up her mind. The fact that she has Down syndrome did not change anything. In fact, one day, I gave her the list of all that she can become, and she carefully chose ‘Teacher.’ She also wanted to become ‘Papa’, but I explained how that might be a little too difficult.

A few years ago, this answer would’ve made me cry or have made me miserable. The time when I didn’t know any better and when searching for ‘the possible careers for down syndrome adults, I used to see no real prospects of her landing anywhere other than the sympathy jobs. Such days used to send me into a hole for a few days, but I learned to cope better.

Now, I celebrate every victory, every achievement of persons with Down syndrome around the world, thinking they are paving the way for my daughter and for many others like her. The general perception about people with DS is changing every minute. Our kids are defying the common wisdom or the lack of it to make this world a better place for everyone who is different. And, the best part is that the world is finally coming to terms with Down syndrome, and I am happy that she is born in this age and time and not fifty years earlier when just bringing her up at home would’ve been considered an achievement. In the last few years, I’ve seen wonderful accomplishments from people with Down syndrome. Attending the ‘World Down Syndrome Congress’ in Chennai, gave me a great opportunity to see and meet people who in spite of the extra chromosome made their mark and continue to do so.

Today, we have actors, teachers, models, musicians, computer professionals, classical dancers, yoga teachers, painters and many more who happens to have Down syndrome. These amazing people give us all a hope for a future where our children will be able to do what they want to, without being told otherwise.

In my quest to know more about all that the amazing people with DS are doing all over the world, I made a small list of careers where they are absolutely rocking it. I am sharing this list with all the parents and professionals to spread this message to all those who doubted the abilities of our children. Let’s all celebrate this world, which is finally coming to terms with Down syndrome.

The Actor: David DeSanctis

David grew up with an interest in drama, choir and broadcast journalism and was an active participant in all three in school years. He also played hosts for local events that supported people with Down syndrome. David is an avid reader with great computer skills. Watch more about David here.

 

The Motivational speaker and a decorated swimmer: Karen Gaffeny

A long-distance swimmer who participated in a relay team that crossed the English Channel; Karen also swam the width of Lake Tahoe. Karen Gaffney became the first living person with Down syndrome to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Portland for her work in raising awareness regarding the abilities of people with Down syndrome. A motivational speaker par excellence, Karen gives many families a ray of hope and to the world a better perspective. See More here 

 

The filmmakers: Sam and Mattie

Sam Suchmann, from Providence, and Mattie Zufelt, of Bristol, both 19-year-olds, have been friends for more than a decade, ever since they met while competing on the same team at the Special Olympics. Both teens have Down syndrome, but that doesn’t stop them from pursuing their dream of making a zombie film.

It is not just another zombie film. In fact, their project has been written up by the news website BuzzFeed and other national outlets, such as the PBS News Hour and has already brought in $68,000 from the original campaign on Kickstarter, an online forum where people can post details about their creative projects in hopes of getting donations. What a great passion on display. Learn more here… 

 

The Teacher: Sheri Brynard

The first and the only person with Down syndrome in South Africa to pass the N6 course and receive a diploma at a national technical college; Sheri brynard had quite a journey. As an ambassador on the International Down syndrome board, Sheri travels across the world to change the perceptions of people with Down syndrome. She is an inspiration, not only for people with DS but for their families as well.

 

 

 

The Councillor: Stephen Green

Stephen Green, 48, was elected as a councilor on Nuthall Parish Council in Nottingham in 2012, making him the first and only serving British councilor with Down’s syndrome. Read more here 

 

The Model: Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart is an 18-year-old aspiring model from Brisbane, Australia with Down Syndrome. Maddy has walked the catwalk in New York for auto-immune awareness, have walked at New York Fashion Week, and has become the face of a cosmetic company called Glossigirl, which makes her the first model with a disability to ever do this. She is now known as the first professional adult model with Down syndrome in the world and is actually supporting herself doing it. 

 

The happily Married: Monica and David

A beautiful couple who also have Down syndrome, Monica and David, have been together for almost nine years and are doing amazingly well. They recently started new volunteer jobs at a local hospital, working with kids in the daycare centre in Florida, USA. 

 

 

The Restaurant Owner: Tim Harris

This list cannot be completed without the livewire Tim who owns this one of a kind restaurant in New Mexico, which serves hugs along with lunch and dinner. Tim’s family helped him achieve this dream and since then Tim is not only giving hugs to hundreds of people every day, he is also giving inspiration and hope to millions across the world.

 

 

The list is endless. There are many more people with ‘the extra chromosome’ who are fighting for their dreams and their rightful place in the society and are claiming it by sheer hard work and perseverance. The world is taking notice, and the new norms are written every day. Yes, there will be cynics, there will be hardships but there will be goodness and there will be rewards! Tell the new parents and the expectant mothers that nothing is unachievable! What they have with them is the potential sportsman or the next filmmaker. Let’s all give it to these superstars: to our kids, to us parents and to this world, which is making some space each day, every day. 

Imagesource: synaticsworld.com

Comments

comments

6 COMMENTS

  1. Avatar Grenville Green

    Hello Deepa,

    Do not know why the video about Stephen is unavailable.? If people research “BBC OUCH Stephen Green” they should be able to find it.

    Sadly the mind set of some in positions of power, and the hard hearts they possess, is very sad indeed. What people should be asking in Nuthall is why 10 people called an election after a member of the dominant political group, left his post. And why most of the members were not welcoming to Stephen as a newly elected councilor.

    Most awkward being a retired Deputy Head Teacher with a life time in education

    Yes we still have a way to go. BUT Xxx we are getting there.

  2. Avatar Grenville Green (Parent)

    Hello again Deepa,

    As you are aware, Stephen is the first person with DS to be elected to any Parish council in England. With help from myself and his step mum Helene we were part of a successful campaign, to get a change in the Law. From August 2014 anyone can now film or record Parish and Town council meetings. Nuthall Parish Council would not allow Stephen to use a microphone to help him with his council work. Now council members cannot stop him or anyone else from doing so.

    There is another election not far from where we live for two members of the public to be co-opted onto Kimberley Town council. I understand there are six candidates. We are two of the six.

    When Stephen was elected (Not Co-opted) he was undermined by certain long standing politically motivated councillors. I attended all Stephen’s meetings as I was his Personal Assistant. What I witnessed left a lot to be desired, but on the plus side, Stephen did win over some hearts and minds at home and abroad. Sadly we still have a way to go regarding “Inclusion” and I am now 74 years of age and Stephen is 52. Yes Deepa children born in recent years with that one extra chromosome have a lot going for them, with parents like you Ronnie and your followers. Xxx WELL DONE.

    • Hello there, Apologies for responding late. I am so proud to know about Stephen. You are bringing a change, not just in the council but in the whole wide world. I sometime fear about getting where you are but seeing you and stephen still going strong, I feel warmth and hope that it all will work out for the best. Yes, the children born in this age do have a lot going for them however the fight is still about mindsets than resources. Lots of love and best wishes for Stephen, you and Helena!
      Keep writing

  3. Avatar Grenville Green

    Hello Deepa,

    Accidentally found “Two Minute Parenting” while researching something for my son Stephen Green. Stephen is now 51 and mentioned in your list above.

    Best Wishes, and congratulations

    Grenville Green.
    Nuthall, Nottingham / England.

    • That’s exciting….
      Your son is a celebrity Mr. Green. Thanks for writing. God bless

  4. Avatar ronnie schneiderman

    My granddaughter is 14 and has down syndrome. She makes honor roll and is amazing. Loved these stories. I am on the board of Alexander’s Angels on Long Island. It is a down syndrome organization doing amazing work

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