Inclusion in the High Street, does it exist?

Inclusion in the High Street,  does it exist?
In years gone by where many people with Down Syndrome have not been recognised for their attributes, their personality or their uniqueness; certainly not on social media and most definitely not on the high street with their advertising, pah!
But times are changing, albeit slowly, but they are changing. The high street are now starting to see individuals for who they are, individuals. They are beginning to be more inclusive as they ignore the label, the stigma of having a model with a difference and giving children and adults alike to be seen, to take centre stage just like their peers.

Why, Not Back Then?
As I was growing up, I do not recall ever meeting a person with a disability. I certainly did not know what Down Syndrome was. Had I led a sheltered life, I don’t believe so but maybe my eyes were closed? Why did the high street not use models with Down Syndrome to showcase their clothes and products? I don’t know the answer, there could have been a policy that discriminated against disability. Yet it seems more likely there were several other reasons as to why people with Down Syndrome were not considered, from the logistics, the unknown, to the fact that there not many models with Down Syndrome actually on any modelling agencies? Who knows?

Why Is It Important Today?
Quite simply, times really are changing, many are tired of seeing the same type of specific model advertise, you know the one, and the public have spoken, ‘We are not all the same shape and size and if you want to continue to get our money then we want to see more people like us – unique and individual’ (They might actually be my words but you get the drift). The high street listened and some started to offer advertising to a variety of models of size, shape, ethnicity and gender. The public started to see models just like themselves. This is so important for our future generations to understand that we are all different yet we all all can inspire others.

Here are some High Street Names & Businesses that are inclusive and have models with Down Syndrome on their portfolio

  • Very UK
  • Welshblood.org.uk
  •  M&S
  • Spanish Boutique
  • Little Betty’s Boutique
  • F&F
  • Rebecca Leigh Photography
  • Peekaboo
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Primark
  • Zebedee Management

Can you name anymore?
Inclusion in the high street does it exist, yes it’s getting there but as always more needs to be done. Thank you as always for reading and a huge thank you to the parents of the group  #wouldntchangeathing
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/801281006738525/)
for sharing these pictures below.

Until Next Time
Sharon x

Here is supermodel number 1
Here is supermodel number 2
Many supermodels

Taking Action

Taking action to achieve your goals is imperative but what if you don’t have any goals or understand what you want to do, how can you? Last week I wrote about my next chapter titled ‘The Next Chapter’ which you can see here
https://sharoncrowley.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/changing-attitudes/
so this week I will start to explain what I have been doing.

My first investigation was to see where I could go locally that was dog free as my daughter Ellie, who has Down’s Syndrome is frightened to death of dogs. Whilst we, as parents, work closely with her to encourage her to be brave and to let dogs walk on by. It was beginning to feel disheartening to find many let their dogs off leads in public and more recently I spotted a dog in our local children’s park. That was the last straw, as they say and the day I began to take action. I emailed, telephoned and researched and then went live on Facebook with Ellie to explain our findings (see here)
https://www.facebook.com/sharon.crowley.14/videos/vb.707793674/10157347055773675/?type=3

Next stage; journalling which began on a daily basis, often twice a day, just writing down my thoughts, what I wanted to achieve in life, who was I, could I inspire or motivate others? During this time I felt that most children with Down’s Syndrome were supported very well from birth through therapists, community groups and lots of resources from the Down’s Syndrome Association but I felt it was a different story once they became teenagers and this was something I wanted to address.

However after various conversations and finding a Facebook group which provided this support, for secondary school age (see here)
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=fod%20secondary%20school%20age%20support&epa=SEARCH_BOX
it appears there is plenty of material out there, just maybe not advertised as much which I could find and share.

I then turned my attention to social activities as I didn’t believe I had seen many for teenagers with Down’s Syndrome, but once again there are a few but still a lot of work in this area needs to be addressed. A local Down’s Syndrome group advertises such activities in the South Manchester area, (see here)
https://www.facebook.com/SMDSSG
and these include movie nights, pizza nights and plenty of football action can be seen at Manchester City. In addition, I am hoping to restart our local Bury support group and work closely with parents to see what other ways we, as parents and carers can support our children to help them reach their full potential and be included in the community.

Activities

So that’s me for this week, until next time. Feel free to connect with me via @linktr.ee/shaz_crowley or share to anyone that may also find these links useful and thank you, as always, for reading.
Sharon x