Today is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day, and it’s a huge step in inclusivity. There is a lot of stigma surrounding the condition, despite constant efforts by the United Nations and organisations such as Inclusive India to create awareness about the condition.
Here’s what you should know first: Down syndrome is a congenital defect caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 that results in 47 chromosomes being present in the body instead of the standard 46. This extra chromosome affects early development in a child, hampering the body’s bio-chemistry to disrupt physical growth, development of facial features and intellectual capabilities. While cognitive and intellectual development might be slower comparatively, their logical skills and concrete memory are sharp. Other developmental stages such as personality development and psychological growth remains the same as their peers.
The biggest misconception surrounding people with Down syndrome is their capability to cope with the quotidian. It should be known that their key traits include being sticklers for routine, having a cheerful disposition, sociable nature and a perfectionist streak—which is a coveted skill set in itself. Here are seven people who won’t let Down syndrome get them down. About time for more inclusivity, we say! #InForTheCause
Australian model Madeline Stuart is an icon on the New York Fashion Week scene. Apart from being the first professional fashion model with Down syndrome to be featured in Vogue, she also has her own fashion line called 21 Reasons Why.
Sportsperson and movie buff, Archana Jayaram is a cyclist who has taken part in the Special Olympics and harbors dreams of being a model someday soon.
Actor Luke Zimmerman is a recognisable face from the TV show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. He pursues acting on screen professionally and has also appeared on the show, Glee.
Guatemalan fashion designer Isabella Springmühl owns her own fashion line called Down to Xjabelle. She showcased her collection at London Fashion Week last year and was also voted for BBC 100 Women.
Besides being an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, Babli also teaches yoga to others with Down syndrome.
Champion swimmers Sneha and Disha show how nothing can get them down by winning a gold and silver respectively at the Special Olympics.
Entrepreneur Blake Pyron is one of the youngest business owners with Down syndrome. He owns a chain of ice cream trucks called Blake’s Snow Shack and his inspiring journey was featured in a NASCAR ad.
Images via Twitter.com and DownSyndrome.in