A mum, formerly from Doncaster, and her three year old daughter star in a viral campaign to change perceptions of people with Down’s Syndrome
Jossie May Stone, 3, was born with Down’s Syndrome, and Jossie’s mum, Stephanie, 44, wants to change how people view children with Down’s Syndrome in a video that will be released on October 4.
Stephanie is backing the #wouldntchangeathing social media campaign, that aims to show the joy that children with Down’s Syndrome bring to family life on a backdrop of ever-increasing screening and termination for the condition.
Stephanie, who lives on Charnwood Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, with Jossie May, her husband Brian, her son Micah, 4, and teenage daughter Nyah, said: “We want people to see that our children are awesome and different, I hate the word ‘disability’”.
“My 20 week scan revealed heart, spine and brain queries, which could have been a number of conditions. “After that I had no further testing as it wouldn’t have changed the outcome of my pregnancy.
“Jossie May was confirmed to have Down’s Syndrome at three days old. “We sobbed, we were heartbroken. “I have to say, it felt like I was being told my child was dying. However, after speaking to another doctor the next day, Stephanie realised that the diagnosis was not as bleak as she first thought.
“It’s so important to give parents the chance to see what Down’s Syndrome is like – I wish I’d met a Jossie girl then, my thoughts would have been much more positive!
Jossie attends Carousel under fives preschool on Lammas Road, which Stephanie says have been very supportive.
The teachers have learned basic sign language to communicate with Jossie, and are eager to learn more.
Stephanie said: “ My main mission is for people to see it’s a gift, not a burden. “I could use a million words to describe this girl – she is feisty, fierce, happy and wonderful! “I was worried she wouldn’t be accepted but the community here have accepted her, when we’re out shopping in Sutton the shopkeepers know Jossie.
“The societal perceptions are outdated, they’re the same as two or three decades ago.
“The life expectancy for people with Down’s Syndrome is around 65 now, and 30 years ago that was very different.
“Instead of shutting people with Down’s Syndrome away in institutions, people have realised we need to treat them differently, with different ways of teaching.