Go to STV News

Book aims to change misconceptions of Down's syndrome

Wouldn't Change A Thing has been created for hospitals to help support new and expectant parents.

By STV News

Published 30 Sep 2019.

A new book is being launched to change misconceptions around Down's syndrome.

Wouldn't Change A Thing has been created for hospitals to help support new and expectant parents and maternity units across the country.

The publication features true stories of positive, lived experience typical of the majority of real people with Down's syndrome and their families - and seeks to dispel the fear that can consume new parents upon receipt of a Down's syndrome diagnosis.

At the book launch at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Children on Monday, Wouldn't Change A Thing chairman Jamie McCallum said the publication is "filled with a lot of joy".

Mr McCallum, whose six-year-old daughter Rosie has Down's syndrome, told STV News: "The book - as parents of a child with Down's syndrome - is very much the book we all wished we had had.

"It's designed in that way because our lives are very different from what we imagined they would be.

"If you are as ignorant as I was, you'd have a very sort of bleak view of what the future held.

"In actual fact, we've kind of done a complete 180 - it's really filled with a lot of joy.

"As you read it through that lens of a new parent, we just hope it has a complete mindset change to enable them to think 'do you know what, this is okay, maybe even good, and we can do this and it's fine'.

Wouldn't Change a Thing was inspired to create the book following a similar project in Australia.

Stephanie Rodden, who produced the Australian version, has been paramount to its production in the UK.

The British book features a number of inspirational adults with Down's syndrome - including Kathleen Humberstone, who featured in a River Island campaign and has also addressed the United Nations in Geneva to call for more equality.

Karen Scott, whose daughter Amy has Down's syndrome, said: "The same day she was born, I was straight on Google.

"The images are horrific, if I'm being honest, and it just creates a fear because it's really unknown - you don't know what the future holds.

"So this book is to kind of show from a baby and actually see what adults are doing to show you that really there's not much difference.

"And it will bring complete and utter joy to your life, which you don't realise is coming - which is the best bit.

"It's just about changing attitudes and getting rid of that negativity around it, because actually I wouldn't change her for the world, I really wouldn't."

Wouldn't Change A Thing is a parent-led organisation that aims to create a world where negative, outdated perceptions of Down's syndrome become a thing of the past.

Its 50 Mums | 50 Kids | 1 Extra Chromosome carpool karaoke lip-sync video in support of World Down Syndrome Day in 2018 went viral.

The awareness group then went on to team up with pop superstar Michael Buble in a bid to make it to number one with a version of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Since then, the organisation has started to work with schools, hospitals, universities and other external agencies such as the World Health Organisation to improve international human rights standards for those with learning disabilities.