What is Down’s Syndrome?
Down’s syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality. According to on-going studies, for every 1000 babies born in the UK one of those will be born with Down’s Syndrome, which equates to approximately 750 babies born with this syndrome per year.
Defying the Odds
Increasingly more people who have Down’s Syndrome are defying the odds of the social stereotypes associated with the disorder. The average life expectancy for someone with Down’s Syndrome is 60 years old, however most recently someone with this condition celebrated their 77th birthday! In the 1940’s the average life expectancy was just 12 years old, with most not surviving past a few months old. This would suggest that with the development of medication and early interventional services along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle all contribute towards a prolonged lifespan.
Down’s Syndrome people were once branded as inadequate and unable to live a fulfilling life like the “average” person. With that being said those with Down’s Syndrome can live just as a fulfilling and independent life. Although undeniably there may be some restrictions, but it’s not to say that they cannot achieve their ambitions and desires.
A young woman named Mélanie, 21 from France achieved her lifelong ambition of becoming a weather woman. She challenged a French broadcaster to employ her if she could gain 100,000 likes through Facebook. After achieving double this in just a few days the French broadcaster gave her the job and she is due to start filming at the end of March.
Another young woman has recently introduced her own fashion label. She first appeared on the run way for New York Fashion Week in 2015 and has since walked the run way of Paris, Los Angeles and another two New York Fashion weeks. How many of us can say we’ve done that?
A 26 year old woman was the first woman with Down’s Syndrome to complete a half marathon, she completed 13. 1 miles in six hours, 22 minutes, and 57 seconds. This just goes to show that even with a learning disability such as Down’s Syndrome, people are still able to achieve what they set out to if they have the passion and desire for it.
People with Down’s Syndrome are constantly surpassing expectations and not letting their disorder hinder their life aspirations. There is still work to be done to ensure that those with Down’s Syndrome have access to the same opportunities that the wider general population have. I think we can all take note here and realise that the only barrier in our way is ourselves, so no matter what hand we’ve been dealt, if there is something we want to achieve, then with the right frame of mind and the right support we can aim to achieve what we set out to.