Sheffield teenager shows there are no barriers to achieving success
A Sheffield teenager is aiming to promote positive perceptions of young people with Down Syndrome through the various activities he participates in - showing that there are no barriers to achievements.
Pre pandemic, it was not unusual to find Liam Froggatt dancing with his friends at Dancestars Sheffield, modelling at Liverpool Fashion Week, horse riding with Riding for the Disabled, or taking part in competitions at the Special Olympics, all of which have helped his self confidence grow.
The 16-year-old, who ‘comes to life when in front of the camera’, has also recently become an ambassador for Wouldn’t Change A Thing, a charity which operates worldwide and seeks to make negative perceptions of Down Syndrome a thing of the past.
Liam’s mother, Lucinda Froggatt, said: “The confidence Liam has gained is phenomenal. When he learnt that he was going to be an ambassador for Wouldn’t Change A Thing, he burst into tears. It was the first time he acknowledged that he was proud of something.”
World Down Syndrome Day is approaching on March 21 and it is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to highlight the work that they do to help modernise mainstream perceptions of Down Syndrome.
Lucinda told how her family has never had to deal with any associated negativity, though she is aware of it existing.
She said: “From my own experience, we’ve been very fortunate. Contacts have been really positive, for example, the staff at Liam’s primary school. Personally we’ve never had any negative issues towards me or Liam.”
Lucinda explained how some people still hold perceptions that those with Down Syndrome are in care, that they don’t achieve anything and do not have a very exciting life, but Liam’s full and active life shows that these perceptions are not an accurate representation.
She suggests that ‘things are changing very slowly’, as it is now more acceptable for Down Syndrome children to go to mainstream school for example.
Although it may take Liam a bit longer to understand things, Lucinda has been grateful to the people that have ‘given him lots of opportunities’ and ‘let him have a shot’.
She hopes showing what Liam has achieved will highlight that young people with Down Syndrome have no barriers to what they can achieve.
“The more positivity the better,” Lucinda added.
Liam is due to begin driving lessons once he turns 17 in April, after being inspired by his older brother Jason.
“Whatever Jason’s doing, I’m doing that,” Liam often tells his mother.
Lucinda told how 19-year-old Jason, who recently had a tattoo done to represent the perseverance and struggles that Liam has been through in life, has been an ‘amazing’ older brother.
The family have sought to treat Liam like any other child growing up, which has no doubt helped him become a determined and ambitious individual.
Liam’s future career goals include joining South Yorkshire Police to work in the stables, as he loves horses, or working at Bramall Lane, as he is an avid Sheffield United fan.