A lot of people have a wrong perception of down syndrome. This is mainly due to the wrong image that is being fed by the society. This leads to many people with prejudice and lack of knowledge about down syndrome. A recent article in Huffington Post shines lights on these stereotypes and gives examples on how those stereotypes are being broken. Here an excerpt from the article:
When you have down syndrome, the first disability you have to face is the way people look at you. It’s based on received wisdom, society conveys misleading information about this extra chromosome and what it is supposed to cause. Each of us has prejudice in mind, this shows no ill-will but just a lack of knowledge on this subject.
The 6 common down syndrome stereotypes
The article takes a look at 6 major stereotypes about down syndrome and gives examples of people who have broken them. The first one is about people with down syndrome not being charming. This stereotype is broken by Madeline Stuart, who has achieved success as an Australian professional model. She has also walked the catwalk for New York Fashion Week. Madeline has proven that not only can someone with down syndrome be charming, but they can also play in the big leagues alongside different models.
The second stereotype is the people with down syndrome cannot graduate because they can never be good at studies. Noelia Garella, is not only a graduate but also currently works as kindergarten teacher. The article talks about inclusive society and how education is a cornerstone.
Being educated is the cornerstone of an inclusive society. It is likely that all people with down syndrome won’t succeed a higher education, however it is as likely that most students won’t be awarded the a nobel prize. It doesn’t stop students from trying, why should those with down syndrome also give up trying?
The third stereotype is that people with down syndrome cannot practice sports. The article gives the example of Yulissa Arescurenaga who is currently a teacher of Zumba Fitness and has also received “Premier Trail Blazer Award” for her work.
The fourth stereotype is the people with down syndrome as always happy and they cannot experience a wide range of emotions. The article proves how this is completely false.
Like the rest of humankind, people with DS experience a wide range of emotions. They can be happy or sad. They can be angry or quiet. #Louise is not always smiling or in a good mood … as you can see!
People also believe that if you suffer from down syndrome, you cannot become successful. The example given in the article to prove this wrong is of Jamie Brewer, who is one of the principal actors of the famous TV show, American Horror Story.
The last stereotype that the article talks about is people with down syndrome always being overweight. This stereotype is proven false by Sarah Gordy. Take a read at this excerpt from the article:
Sarah Gordy is a talented artist – comedian, dancer, and model. She is best known for her portrayal of Lady Pamela Holland in the 2010 BBC TV series of Upstairs. Her body is her working instrument. She works hard, and we can see it!
As you can see, the six major types of stereotypes mentioned in the article have all be proven false. The examples given are of just one person. There are countless people suffering from down syndrome who are proving these stereotypes false everyday. Unfortunately, it’s not only these 6 stereotypes that a common, there are probably many more stereotypes that people with down syndrome have to deal with. But the good thing is that these stereotypes are being proven false day by day and eventually, as people breaking these stereotypes get more exposure, society will have to change the way they think about down syndrome. Until that happen, we must do all we can to support them.