Challenging some Myths and Stereotypes around Down Syndrome

After having my daughter Ellie I was suddenly surrounded by a lot of outdated facts, myths and stereotypes of Down’s Syndrome; some made me laugh and many I chose to ignore. However 10 years later I have chosen to challenge those myths.
First let share my thoughts as a parent and to offer some education.
Please note everything written here is just my opinion, however many myths have been contributed by other parents.

So let’s begin with the most popular one; all people with Down’s Syndrome are always happy and loving. All I can say here folks is ask a parent! All our children have every emotion just like yours, they are angry, frustrated, cry, have tantrums and can be very annoying (sound familiar?)

Another stereo type that may have come from the medical profession or just an outdated view was when another mum was informed that her child would not come to much. Seriously??? Have you seen the actors, the dancers, the pianists, and not forgetting the legend Sarah Gordy who received a MBE in 2018. Ellie is currently in mainstream primary, can read, do mental maths, spell, and goes to drama with her friends. She has achieved her 100m swimming certificate and recently went on her first field trip with school, without us.

One myth I admit to worrying about when Ellie was born, was what would happen to her as she got older. Yes our children are no longer taken to care homes to be looked after but would she live with us forever. It’s been a lovely surprise to see so many young adults including the awesome Heidi who moved out at 20 to live the life she wants here’s a link to her page
https://www.facebook.com/Heidi-Crowter-Living-the-Dream-473919313091896/

Another common myth about babies with Down’s Syndrome is they simply cannot breastfeed. I admittedly tried only once with Ellie and didn’t pursue it but other mum’s have had no problems showing every child, as we should accept, is unique.

Age; the common stereotype that only older females have children with Down’s Syndrome. I personally was only 34 (I don’t consider that old, do you?) and statistics show there are more females under the age of 35 than older that have children with Down’s Syndrome. Down’s Syndrome is a chromosome abnormality and therefore has little to do with age.

Children with Down’s Syndrome stay babies for longer, have you heard this – many parents might feel like this when given the diagnosis due to stereotypes, but again ask a parent if you want the truth. I feel Ellie turned into a teenager when she was 7 with all the same fun attributes of moodiness, stubbornness and emotions that you would expect from those teenage years. Others have said the same. Many parents teach their children age appropriate behaviour to try to dispel this myth.

All people with Down’s Syndrome look the same. Yes many children have similar facial features (slanted eyes, small nose), a smaller stature and may need support with their gross, motor and oral skills; however each child is unique and will have similarities to their parents and siblings just as much.

So there you have it, some very common myths and stereotypes of Down’s Syndrome challenged. My last thought on this matter is terminology; a person is a person not a Down’s Syndrome person or a Down’s; a better way of saying something that is similar is ‘Here is Ellie, she has Down’s Syndrome’ – person first.

Thank you for reading and as always if you would like to connect, leave me a message or get in touch via the Contact Page
Do you think I’ve missed one out, comment below? Until next time,
Sharon x

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

Changing Attitudes

When you find your passion, the reason to get out of bed each morning, you will give it 100% focus and make plans and take continuous action. This is what I have found recently, as I became a little jaded with the path I was on so therefore I took some time out and now I am back to begin the next chapter of my work from home journey.

What has changed?
Let me introduce myself especially if this is the first time you are reading my blog. I’m Sharon, mum of two and full time carer to my daughter, Ellie who will be 10 next month. Ellie has Down’s Syndrome and my life changed direction when I gave birth to her. Not only did I become a new mum at 34, but I had a child with a disability and a disability until then that I had not heard of.
Fast forward ten years and I am now a work from home mum. I take both children to school, to their clubs and not missing Ellie’s appointments. After being in work full time since I was 16, becoming a full time housewife was not for me and as such an enjoyable journey working from home. Three and a half years of Network Marketing has helped me build a network of friends, business skills and a lot of social media tips but the passion for me wasn’t there in the end.

Meet Ellie & Billy

Which brings me right up to today. After a coaching call with @LeonaBurton from #mumsinbusinessassociation I was advised to journal daily and reflect on what I enjoy, what excited me, what I don’t enjoy too and with a tonne of personal development daily I chose to find ‘me’ again. I want to find something I can do that will help others, something that is inspiring to others and that brings me to sharing my version of ‘Changing Attitudes’, the inspiration derived from my children. I am now on a mission to help, with many others, change the attitudes towards people with Down’s Syndrome. In addition, help my daughter and others feel accepted, included and above all reach their full potential.

Do I know how, not yet? But isn’t that the exciting part? I’ve taken the first step and put this blog out there for you to read and I hope you will follow my journey as I plan to play big and share regular tips, ideas and inspirational stories from now on.

Thank you for reading, if you would like to connect with me, you can via linktr.ee/shaz_crowley and comment below if you know someone that has Down’s Syndrome.

Sharon x