3 myths about Down syndrome: A mother’s perspective

On World Down Syndrome Day, Lynn, parent of a Yooralla customer Ezra, wants to dispel some of the myths surrounding the most common genetic disability.

Myth 1: People with Down syndrome are always happy

“The biggest myth is that people with Down syndrome are always happy and want to hug everyone – that is simply not true,” said Lynn.

“People with Down syndrome have the same emotions as everyone else – they can be sad, angry, annoyed, scared, excited and hurt. They can experience love and loss and experience highs and lows just like anyone.

“Sometimes I need to force a hug from Ezra and his sister – once our kids get to a certain age, the hugs are just not as regular,” said Lynn laughing.

Myth 2: People with Down syndrome can’t live independently

“People with Down syndrome have dreams and aspirations just like everyone else and for many, that includes living independently, studying and working,” said Lynn.

“Ezra, for example, wants to be independent. He wants to go to university – he has just been accepted into a course at Torrens University. Next year he will get a job as part of his studies. His job will allow him to be valued for his many abilities.

“He plans and manages his own schedule, he cooks, cleans and helps around the house, he dances ten hours a week and goes to the zoo every week, as he loves animals,” she said.

Myth 3: Down syndrome defines you

“Down syndrome is not what defines people,” said Lynn.

“Most people, despite their abilities, want the same from life and people with Down syndrome are just like everyone else – they have their own talents, abilities, thoughts and interests.

“It is also important to understand that people with Down syndrome have different personalities just like everyone else, so they are all unique.

“Ezra and his friends enjoy socialising, binge watching TV shows and are active on social media – just like his sister and her friends.

“If anything, comparing Ezra to his sister, I would say that there are a lot more similarities than differences. Both are just typical 20-something adults,” said Lynn.

World Down Syndrome Day, 21 March, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Learn more about how World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated in Australia.

Ezra attends Yooralla’s Learning Hub, one of Yooralla’s Community Hubs where people with disability receive the support they require, meet new friends and get out in their local community, all while learning new skills.

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