A York District Hospital Arts In Health team commission to produce a series of photographs for Down Syndrome Awareness. Coming from a family with a Downs child I was of course inclined to participate in what was a wonderful show featuring myself; Downs Photographer David Kenward; and Artist Sue Clayton.
Down Syndrome is an interesting condition. While it is one of the most well known genetic disorders, it can often be misunderstood and misrepresented.
Sometimes regarded as debilitating and restrictive, it can be quite the opposite. The perceived problems and incongruities in the lives of those with the disorder are in fact no different from anybody else’s. Sometimes they aren’t even barriers at all, and in reality it is those looking on who have an issue to overcome. Learning to live independently, being part of a community and solemnly caring for those around you are some of the basic building blocks for living a fulfilled life. I do not see Downs as an obstacle to achieving that, but rather a reason to try to break down the social and mental walls around you and strive to simply live life.
Growing up with a Downs brother has perhaps skewed my perspective somewhat, but that is surely to my benefit for I have been allowed the opportunity to look and to listen and to experience things that others seldom see. People often shy away from that which they do not understand – like a frightened child hiding behind the sofa, scared to look. But in my experience I see nothing to fear and, in fact, probably something to celebrate.