World Down Syndrome Day takes place on 21st March every year. It also coincides with World Down Syndrome Week. It’s a day to celebrate, and raise awareness of Down Syndrome.
So it’s fitting that we caught up with the lovely people at Wouldn’t Change a Thing, to find out what they’re up to for Down Syndrome Day 2021. And yes, it does involve another amazing carpool karaoke!
There are so many thoughts that go through a person’s head when they are delivered the news that their baby has Down syndrome. Those with children already are likely to worry about the impact that this news may have on those children, those whose baby is their first child may be concerned about the impact on their own relationship with their partner or their family as a whole. Of course, these are perfectly normal feelings to have but so many of us with the benefit of hindsight would say we wished we had never given it a second thought.
Those who have a family member with Down syndrome often say that they are happier for having that person in their lives. Siblings of a child with Down syndrome often exhibit a level of maturity above that of their peers and tend to have more highly-developed communication and social skills. They are often more accepting and appreciative of differences, the vast majority of brothers and sisters feeling that they are a better person because of their sibling with DS.
Taking the wheel
For this year’s World Down Syndrome Day campaign, the global theme is “Connect” so Wouldn’t Change A Thing thought what better connection is there than with those that we call family, with the emphasis on the sibling relationship. We wanted to show the world how much joy there is in having a sibling with DS. Cue the carpool karaoke sequel to our 50 Mums video from 2018, We are Family – 50 Siblings. This video shows 50 sets of siblings taking the “steering wheel” and singing and signing to We Are Family by Sister Sledge. It is full of fun and laughter and you can feel the love oozing from your screen.
We Are Family ebook
We have also produced an eBook to accompany the video which is a collection of stories from not only siblings but parents, extended family members and most importantly individuals with Down syndrome about what family means to them. This is free to download from our website and we hope that this will help those new/expectant parents who have the question “how will this affect my family”. Download the book here.
Stories from real families
“My mum asked if I could change anything about Bella what would I change? I said I wouldn’t change a thing! Bella is perfect just the way she is.”Brooklyn, 8, about her sister Bella
“Watching and being a part of Poppie’s life has been and continues to be amazing. The love and pride I have for Poppie is so strong that at times it overwhelms me. Seeing how she has blossomed into the young lady she is today has taught me some valuable life lessons, proven to me that anything is possible and showed me what it is to love unselfishly. Our relationship is precious and is one that will last a lifetime. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.”Sarah about her niece Poppie
“He has completed our family in a way nobody expected, his extra chromosome has changed all our lives in such a positive way. Down syndrome is not something to be scared about or worried about. I wouldn’t want him any other way or change a single thing about him.”Daniel, 13, about his brother Thomas
“Having Evan in my life changed me and our family for the better. I love him more than words can express, the same for my sister, but I’ve never been as protective over her. Evan needs me to help him, to fight for him and I will. He’s my baby brother and even when he’s being a pain by throwing my glasses and then running away giggling his head off, I wouldn’t change a thing about him!”Emily, 29, about her little brother Evan
“She’s the best thing that’s come into my life – for millions of reasons. She’s changed me for the better and made me realise so many different things.”Erin, 13, about her cousin Rosie
Wouldn’t Change a Thing
Wouldn’t Change a Thing is a Down syndrome awareness organisation working to change negative, outdated perceptions of Down syndrome. They share real, lived experience of having a loved one with Down syndrome. Check out their website for blogs and resources, and be sure to follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.