When you have down syndrome, the first disability you have to face is the way people look at you. It's based on received wisdom, society conveys misleading information about this extra chromosome and what it is supposed to cause. Each of us has prejudice in mind, this shows no ill-will but just a lack of knowledge on this subject.
We are the parents of little Louise who was born with this extra chromosome. Our first task to welcome her was to get rid of that prejudice, for most prejudiced views are outdated and unfounded.
Today, we want to share this whole "breaking" process, so that our girl, and also anyone that has down syndrome, can be socially integrated more easily.
Here are 6 stories portraying people who happen to have this syndrome and who prove that there are as many differences between two people with down syndrome than between you and Usain Bolt or Madonna
Stereotype N°1 - They can't be charming.
Madeline Stuart is an Australian professional model. She is the face of different cosmetic and fashion brands and walked the catwalk for New York Fashion Week.
Stereotype N°2 - They can't graduate
Noelia Garella is graduate from the "Superior del Profesorado Dr. Antonio Sobral" school. She is a kindergarten teacher in Cordoba Argentina.
Being educated is the cornerstone of an inclusive society. It is likely that all people with down syndrome won't succeed a higher education, however it is as likely that most students won't be awarded the a nobel prize. It doesn't stop students from trying, why should those with down syndrome also give up trying?
Stereotype N°3 - They can't practice sport
Yulissa Arescurenaga is teaching Zumba Fitness in San Francisco. She received the "Premier Trail Blazer Award" for her work.
The Hypotonia (the lack of muscle strength) that comes with down syndrome is not a dead-end for the pursuit of a sporting activity. It's the reverse !
Stereotype N°4 - They are always happy
Like the rest of humankind, people with DS experience a wide range of emotions. They can be happy or sad. They can be angry or quiet. #Louise is not always smiling or in a good mood ... as you can see!
Stereotype N°5 - They can't be successful
Jamie Brewer is one of the principal actors from the famous TV show American Horror Story - In the last season she portrayed Chester Creb's vision of his doll, Marjorie.
Stereotype N°6 - They are always overweight
Sarah Gordy is a talented artist - comedian, dancer, and model. She is best known for her portrayal of Lady Pamela Holland in the 2010 BBC TV series of Upstairs. Her body is her working instrument. She works hard, and we can see it!
This blog first appeared on The Huffington Post France and has been translated. The original post can be found here