Seb is 7 years old.
When he was born I was shocked to my core when we were told he had Down’s syndrome. I knew nothing about the condition, aside from outdated assumptions and stereotypes, and I was full of unnecessary fear of what the future had in store for us. I imagined a lifetime of “difference”, disability and exclusion. In those early days every time I looked at my baby I saw “Down’s syndrome”. I missed precious time with my first born baby worrying needlessly.
The reality could not be further from that vision. We lead a really typical family life together with Seb’s Dad and two younger siblings. We face the same joys, wonders, challenges and experiences as any family, I don’t regard Seb as “disabled”, he is just Seb. I wouldn’t swap our lives or anything about it (well, maybe less washing would be good).
I started this page to allow people to see a snapshot of our lives together. I like to think it may help just one person deal with a new diagnosis and not miss out on those magical first weeks. I also hope that it spreads a wider message to those who don’t know much about the condition, or maybe have the outdated view that I had.
Seb is a typical 7 year old who attends mainstream school, loves reading, football, chips and ice cream……he is an absolute whizz on his scooter and hates having his hair washed. All of my children are a reflection of their family and their upbringing, they are as much alike as they are different.
Seb is not a list of characteristics in a textbook. He is not a condition. Or a label. He is more like our family than anyone else with an extra chromosome 21. This is what I want to communicate on this page.
I am passionate about inclusion – in schools, in communities, in sport, in advertising – in everything. I believe inclusion will breed a new generation of acceptance – people who will value every person on this planet as an individual.
As a result of my passion for inclusion and campaigning, Seb was the first child with Down’s syndrome in the UK to star in a major TV ad commercial and Christmas campaign for a high street retailer (M&S). He has also modeled for Jojo Maman Bebe, Kinder chocolate, the Sun newspaper and Mencap. After lengthy discussions with various retailers and creative agencies, and thanks to other warrior parents and champions, both here and globally, I am delighted to see more and more retailers following suit including Boden, the Co-Op, M&S Ireland, the Early Learning Centre, Boots, Mothercare and Sainsbury’s.
I have also been honoured to visit number 10 Downing Street to meet Samantha Cameron, as well as a trip to The House of Lords and the Lord Mayor of London. I am an ambassador for the Special Olympics, GB and a patron of Mencap’s Musicman Project. I was also invited to speak at a Tedx event organized by King’s College London on the subject “Beyond the Genes” and I am a regular contributor / writer for Mencap, The Huffington Post and BT.com.
But all you really need to know about me is, I am a mum.