Biggleswade mother speaks out ahead of World Down Syndrome Day
- Credit: Archant
Ahead of World Down Syndrome Day on Wednesday, a Biggleswade mother has spoken about how the condition is misunderstood.
Amanda Jeram’s baby boy Harry was diagnosed with Down Syndrome less than a week after being born. To raise awareness about the condition and to battle ignorance, Amanda told the Comet: “In the UK, 90 per cent of people who know that their child will be born with Down syndrome have an abortion.
“I believe that this choice stems from fear and misunderstanding. Fear of the unknown. Misunderstanding of what Down syndrome really is.
“Firstly, patience takes on a whole new meaning. Children with Down syndrome can do almost everything that other children can do – it just takes them a little longer to get there. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
“Secondly, pride will overcome you. Every new thing Harry learns, makes me burst with pride. A milestone for any child is amazing, but when it’s taken your child that little bit longer to get there, it’s worth the wait.”
“We don’t know what his future will hold. Will he go to mainstream school? Will he live independently? Will he get married? But we could be asking the same questions of our son even if he didn’t have Down syndrome.”
Through Harry’s short life, he and his parents have already faced negative terminology and connotations – against which Amanda fights.
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She said: “We battle daily with the stereotypes and misconceptions around his condition.”
“We can only hope that in time we will break down barriers and show the world what an incredible child Harry is. Down Syndrome is part of him, it does not define him and I challenge anyone who tries to tell me otherwise.”
World Down Syndrome Day is a campaign run by Down Syndrome International. This year, it will be centred around the hashtag #WhatIBringToMyCommunity, and aims to explain how people with the condition can and do make meaningful contributions throughout their lives.
It also aims to deter negative attitudes and a lack of knowledge about the potential these individuals have.
For more information about World Down Syndrome Day go to worlddownsyndromeday.org/call-to-action.