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March 2, 2021

WDSD 2021

50 Siblings | We Are Family

How will this affect my other children?

That is the question many new or expectant parents of a child with Down syndrome ask themselves on receiving their child’s diagnosis. Wouldn’t Change a Thing’s World Down Syndrome Day campaign this year aims to go some way towards answering that question.

Formal research has shown that over 90% of people who have a family member with Down syndrome say they are happier for having that person in their lives. Siblings of a child with Down syndrome often exhibit a level of maturity above that of their peers and tend to have more highly-developed communication and social skills. They are often more accepting and appreciative of differences, with the vast majority of brothers and sisters feeling that they are better people because of their sibling with DS.

So, how to translate these facts and figures to something more tangible? What better way than to let people see the joy of the sibling relationships for themselves, played out on screen! Like all WCAT projects, this year’s video is full of fun, but also aims to prompt the audience to question their own beliefs or misconceptions about what having someone with Down syndrome in their lives would mean.

Hayley Lack, project manager, says:

‘Everybody worries about their children. The biggest and most repeated question that I get asked by prospective parents and grandparents of a child with Down syndrome is ‘How will having a child with Down syndrome affect my other children?’  I can’t comment on each individual situation, only my own, and for me it’s an easy answer. Having Evie has made us better people – both myself and my daughter are nurses due to Evies diagnosis, all my other children are more compassionate, understanding and caring.  We have all learned to enjoy every moment, one step at a time. Evie does not and never has burdened any of our lives, she completes our lives. She is just Evie and her siblings love her for who she is. Down syndrome is part of her.’

As part of this year’s campaign, WCAT will also be releasing an eBook, ‘We Are Family’.

With the global theme of WDSD 2021 being ‘Connect’ we felt there was no better connection than those we call family.

Our eBook is a collection of stories from not only siblings but parents, extended family members, and most importantly individuals with Down syndrome about what family means to them. You can download or view the eBook here.

In the run up to WDSD our social media pages will be filled with posts, blogs, videos and images around the theme of the sibling relationship, and those of the wider family.