A new blog from a lady who came into our lives less than a year ago but has done so much to promote and educate people about DS. Linda Downing thank u so much xx
Hi my name is Linda and I work in a primary school as a HLTA (higher level teaching assistant). Over the years I have supported several children with DS and can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every minute, finding the children fun, loving and remarkable little characters, just like the other hundreds of children I have worked with.
I found out about Abigail and Isobel through my daughter who saw their pictures on a friends timeline on Twitter. As I started reading about the girls and their family I thought it would be great to help raise awareness, this is Matt & Jodie’s main aim.
After contacting them I found out about World Downs Syndrome day and the “Odd socks” campaign. Matt & Jodie asked if it would be possible to do something in school to mark the day. Luckily the head teacher agreed and with the help of my friend and colleague Jordan, the planning began.
Before the day we ordered official odd socks from the DS site for all members of staff and sent out a letter to all parents asking if their children could come to school on the day in odd socks and bring a donation of 50p. We also organised a “colour the socks” competition with prizes of……..socks!!
We put posters promoting the day and photos of the girls and other children with DS all around the school. All classes had discussions about DS, appropriate to age, eg, why babies were born with DS, how it affects development, why we need to be patient and help children/ people with DS. The children were really interested and lots of parents commented on how they had shared what they had learned with family and friends. Thus spreading awareness.
On the day we had great fun showing off and comparing our odd socks, we took lots of photographs of staff and children posing in their socks. My favourite was of the whole school with their shoes off and legs in the air!!
In the afternoon we held a special assembly to celebrate the day. We used ‘life-size’ puppets and children of various ages and sizes, who had different skin colours and hairstyles. This helped to get the message across that we’re all different in many ways and this should be celebrated.
To finish the assembly we played a heart warming video from YouTube called ‘Future Mom’ which was filmed especially for World Downs Syndrome Day and features children and young adults from around Europe who have DS. It was made in a bid to offer comfort and reassurance to a mother- to- be who is expecting a baby with DS. If you haven’t seen it, take a look, we all thought it was wonderful.
In addition to having a great day and raising awareness we managed to raise £170 for the Twincess appeal.
Jordan and I have had the pleasure of meeting Matt, Jodie, Finlay Abigail and Isobel at their home in Chorley. We were made to feel very welcome and had a lovely couple of hours, playing with the girls who are adorable, scrumptious little princesses full of fun and personality. Finlay was gorgeous, popping in to chat and showing us his superhero costumes! Matt and Jodie are obviously very proud of their children and rightly so, they are a super family.
Matt and Jodie are doing a great job and I’m sure will continue to do so, raising awareness and helping families who have children with Downs Syndrome. Their dedication and commitment are commendable.