World Down Syndrome Day


As today is World Down Syndrome Day, I thought I'd share my experiences of the condition and how it's affected my life. My auntie Jackie was born with Down Syndrome and at 44, she is proving all the doctors wrong who said she'd only live until her teens at the latest.

There are different severities of Down Syndrome and hers is quite severe. She can't hold a conversation with anyone and has no concept of what is socially acceptable or not. But that's part of the reason I love her. She will laugh and sing and dance just because she feels like it, regardless of who's watching and I think that's something to be cherished.

Whilst she cannot hold a conversation in a conventional way, she can communicate and talk to you like any other person. But rather than answer "how are you?", she'll only respond if you say "you alright Jack?". She often repeats herself and asks the same questions. Her favourite things to say are "you're mad" or "fishcakes" which is her way of saying "fuck sake".

And I think that's part of the issue in today's society. People won't talk to someone like her because A) they don't really know how to act or B) they get annoyed having to repeat themselves constantly.

But if we all took just a second to realise how amazing these people are, then maybe we could all benefit from them. I love having a person with Down Syndrome in my life because it's taught me to be patient with people who struggle and that it's okay to laugh about disabilities because at the end of the day, we're all human.

People with Down's are extra special because they have an extra chromosome. They're not scary people or an outcast of society. And the sooner we realise that, the better for all of us.

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  1. I really loved reading this, Zoe, your aunt sounds wonderful. My uncle has Downs Syndrome so I can relate to a lot of what you're saying - he doesn't always realise what's okay to say and what's not, and he gets quite confused, but it's part of who he is and I feel lucky to have him :) xx