WDSD Campaign 2024

Written by Erika Petrie

March 17, 2024

For World Down Syndrome Day this year, the theme campaign is ‘Assume I can and maybe I will’. Too often we have limited conceptions and views about individuals with Down Syndrome and what they can achieve but they have proven that if given the opportunity like everyone else they can thrive and lead independent lives in many cases. Many individuals with Down Syndrome have gone on to become actors and actresses, models, teachers, gymnasts, chefs, cooks, hospitality workers, paralympic swimmers and more. We must remember that people with Down Syndrome are people first and not their diagnosis which is just a part of who they are, like their extra chromosome.

In the photo we can see Micaela, also known as Miki, a teenager with Down Syndrome. Although non verbal she is able to make herself understood and is very physically able. She is very good at dancing, climbing, spinning, swimming and outdoor activities. She can spin around for hours on end never losing her balance. She is a fundamentally happy child who is also very happy in her own company, as well as with her classmates and teachers.

Miki’s mum Erika, set up this charity called ‘Shades of Different’ (of which this is the website) to help raise awareness and make a difference to individuals who are considered ‘different’ including those diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Through this organisation they have been able to provide a number of items of sensory equipment to Micaela’s school and college to help them with their growth and development.

Another success story: Emma was born with Down syndrome, her family has faced the world and tried to make it a better place for DS people and those who are different.

She may have been born with “Down Syndrome” but love, help and support ensure her life has been up and not down. 

Ever since she was little her mother has been super supportive and has enabled and helped her to have a life full of accomplishments and adventures. 

You can learn more about Emma’s journey at https://emmaanderson.org/
There is a book outlining the life of Emma, called: “I, Emma”
There is also an award winning documentary on her entitled: “Sky is the limit” directed by her mother, Mirka Anderson. 

Emma has been a source of motivation for many differently abled people across the world and has been a part of many conventions and events.

With all individuals who are ‘different’, give them a chance: assume they can and maybe they will! 


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