Sheffield organisations to change people’s perceptions of disability with celebration of World Down's syndrome day

Some people with Down’s syndrome are still subject to negative attitudes, discrimination and exclusion today, but organisations in Sheffield are hoping to change that this World Down’s syndrome day.

By Lisa Wong
Thursday, 12th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 2:49 pm

The theme of this year’s World Down’s syndrome day, on March 21, is We Decide.

It seeks to ensure that all individuals have full participation in decision making about matters that relate to or affect their lives, regardless of whether they have Down’s syndrome.

Janet Chelliah, whose daughter Kirsty is dealing with such issues as she completes her final year at school, said: “People think that disabled children are not capable of progressing - not worth educating.”

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DanceStars Sheffield

She told of how there are limited resources when it comes to further education for young people with disabilities.

Janet added: “I don’t want my daughter to be put into a day centre. I want her to be an independent adult.”

She wants other parents like herself to retain the hope that young people with disabilities can ‘still learn and improve’.

Dance Stars Sheffield, which has helped many young disabled people be more independent, is just one example of how this is true.

Dance Stars Sheffield

Janet said: “It shows that kids with a disability can have fun and make friendships.”

To mark World Down’s syndrome day, Dance Stars Sheffield will be watching the Sheffield Steelers in their mismatched socks, which is a custom that has arisen to honour the day.

Dance Stars has also been working on a documentary for the last month, which will feature insight from families.

It will be shared on social media in celebration of World Down’s syndrome day and to raise overall awareness.

The Down’s syndrome association - which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year - believes that the root of discrimination stems from a lack of understanding about the challenges such individuals face.

Employers in Sheffield are being encouraged to attend a coffee morning on March 20, to find out more about employing people with Down’s Syndrome.

The event at Burton Street Foundation will hope to bring employers and jobseekers who have Down’s syndrome, together.