Friday, April 17, 2015

18-Month-Old With Down Syndrome 'Flies' Through Life in Photographs

18-Month-Old With Down Syndrome 'Flies' Through Life in Photographs 
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18-Month-Old With Down Syndrome 'Flies' Through Life in Photographs (ABC News)

by Genevieve Shaw Brown from Good Morning America:
When Alan Lawrence’s son was born with Down syndrome, he said, “it was a shock. It felt as though he would put limits on what I would accomplish, what my family would accomplish.”
Fast forward 18 months, and nothing could be further from the truth, Lawrence said. Wil, his fifth child, “brings a light to our family.”
Inspired by how Wil has enriched the lives of those around him, Lawrence set out to show not only how Wil has placed no limits on the family, but rather, “has opened so many doors.” He’s convinced Wil will do anything he wants to do in life.
Maybe even fly.
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Alan Lawrence
Alan Lawrence
“When Wil was little, he would lie on his stomach and raise his arms and legs like he was flying. It wasn’t something any of my other kids did,” he said. “We all said, ‘Look, he’s flying!”
Lawrence’s photo series shows Wil “flying” through beautiful landscapes and everyday scenes.
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Alan Lawrence
Alan Lawrence
The overall goal of the program, Lawrence said, is to “raise awareness around Down syndrome.” The photos have proved so popular that the family wants to create a calendar of Wil’s photos and then donate half the proceeds to two Down syndrome foundations: Reece’s Rainbow, which supports adoption, and Ruby’s rainbow, which helps young adults with Down syndrome go to college. The family recently launched a Kickstarter campaign.
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Alan Lawrence
Alan Lawrence
 The family also hopes to take Wil’s show on the road. The Utah dad said that by photographing Wil in other destinations he could make the project last longer and hopefully raise more awareness. Wil's loved ones also hope to visit other families with children with Down syndrome to tell their stories.
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Alan Lawrence
Alan Lawrence
“Basically, we want to flood the Internet with this good message," he said. "I want to give other people new to this journey messages of joy and hope.”
Lawrence is also hoping to help people overseas who don’t have access to the same level of care and treatment through his YouTube channel. He’ll put up therapy tutorials and also video the family’s everyday life.
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Alan Lawrence
Alan Lawrence
“I see my other kids with Wil and they are so excited for this journey with him," he said. "He’s already taught us so much about compassion.”
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Alan Lawrence
Alan Lawrence
Plus, said Lawrence, Wil is like a “rock star” in their neighborhood.
Maybe that’s what Wil will be when he grows up. That is, if he’s not too busy flying.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Surprise! This Maryland prom proposal will make you smile

GLENELG, Md. - A Maryland girl surprised a boy at her school with a sweet prom proposal that was uploaded to YouTube

Cameras were rolling as James, who has Down syndrome, made his way to the gym at Glenelg High School in Howard County. 

As he walked inside, his classmates were gathered for the big moment. James made his way to the center of the basketball court when a girl named Maisy approached him with a sign-- and a question. 

Maisy asked James "Will you go to the prom with me?" It's a date because he said yes!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

21 things my son has taught me

Down syndrome: note of love to son 
Caroline Richardson, from Harrington Park, with her son Joshy, 8, who has Down syndrome. She would like to educate people about the condition. Picture: Robert pozo Source: News Corp Australia

by Vera Bertola from MacArthur Chronicle Campbelltown:
1: Every chromosome has two chromosomes. Trisomy 21: on every 21st chromosome it has a third chromosome.
2: No two people with Down syndrome are the same. They have their own personalities.
3. They are not always happy all the time. They can get very sad, angry and frustrated, just like you and I
4. It is very common for people with down syndrome to have a lot of medical conditions and problems. But not all. Joshy is one of the few who don’t have a heart condition, kidney problems or major bowel problems.
5. Developmentally people with Downs can be mild, mild to moderate, moderate to severe. Severe and so on. Joshy is severe. He wouldn’t be able to cope in a unit in a main stream school so he is in a special school.
6. People with Down syndrome can have dual diagnosis. As well as have Down syndrome, they can also have autism, defiance disorders, ADD, ADHD. The list can go on.

7. People with Down syndrome can work in jobs the same as anyone else. Some can drive cars.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

HK Profile: Frank Freeman - The Purest People photographer

Imagine feeling so inspired by the people you work with that it changes who you are, right down to your name. That’s what happened to Frank Freeman – née Frank Chun. The professional photographer has just launched the third in a series of exhibitions in his biggest project to date, The Purest People. His portraits capture 23 sparkling personalities all aged between 10 and 20. But these aren’t typical models. In fact, they all have Down’s Syndrome – a genetic disorder caused by an extra chromosome that affects roughly 3,000 people in Hong Kong. The condition is typically associated with physical growth delays and intellectual disability, which can lead to prejudice against people with the disorder. That’s something Freeman wants to rectify through the power of photography. He’s found, from working with the models, that they highlight the importance of honesty and truthfulness, ultimately prompting him to change his name. “After shooting the models, I changed my name,” he says. “Now I’m Frank Freeman.”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

ABLE: Positive change and a fighting chance

Just before Christmas of last year, President Barack Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE, allowing people with disabilities to open tax-free accounts where they can save money without fear of losing government benefits.
As soon as the Treasury Department writes eligibility requirements, states will be responsible for establishing and managing the program, expected to begin accepting applications from people by the end of this year.
In Savannah, this means new doors could be opening for the thousands of people who struggle to find work because of a disability.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

LuMind Foundation and Research Down Syndrome Merge to Create Leading Source of Private Funding for Down Syndrome Cognition Research

LuMind Foundation and Research Down Syndrome have combined resources and programs. Together, these organizations contributed nearly $12 million to stimulate cognition research, resulting in the discovery of multiple drug targets and supporting the initiation of four clinical trials.
March 2, 2015 (Marlborough, Mass.) – The LuMind Foundation (formerly the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation – DSRTF) and Research Down Syndrome (RDS), worldwide leaders in advancing Down syndrome cognition research, together announce consolidation of the two organizations. The new foundation will pursue their shared mission more effectively and efficiently, and leverage the tremendous progress each has made to ignite Down syndrome cognition discoveries.
The merged organization will be named LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation. The LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation will be led by a national board of directors, consisting of board members from both organizations. Ryan Hartman will continue from his position as LuMind Foundation Chairman of the Board and Dan Flatley, Research Down Syndrome founder and Chairman, will serve as Vice Chairman.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Obama Task Force Urges Improved Police Interactions

by Michelle Diament from Disability Scoop:
A presidential task force is encouraging police departments across the nation to be more mindful of their dealings with people who have disabilities.
In a report issued this week, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued wide-ranging recommendations aimed at improving relations between the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
President Barack Obama created the task force in response to high profile cases last year in Missouri and New York involving the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police.
“We have a great opportunity, coming out of some great conflict and tragedy, to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations so that everybody feels safer and our law enforcement officers feel, rather than being embattled, feel fully supported,” Obama said of the report. “We need to seize that opportunity.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Special Olympics club encourages students to stop the use of the “R-word”

Kayla McKeon, a 27-year-old Syracuse native with Down syndrome, shared her experiences with the “R-word” as the Special Olympics Club’s guest speaker on Wednesday.
by Sara Swann from The Daily Orange:
On Wednesday at 8 a.m., members of the Special Olympics Club at Syracuse University spray-painted orange messages in the snow on the Quad to raise awareness of their “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign.
The “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign encourages people to stop the use of the “R-word,” or the word “retard(ed),” because it is “exclusive, offensive and derogatory.” Wednesday marked the annual day of awareness, which takes place the first Wednesday of every March, according to the campaign’s website.
In addition to raising awareness about the campaign, the spray-painted messages also invited the public to attend the Special Olympics Club meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The meeting took place in Kittredge Auditorium, where Kayla McKeon, a 27-year-old Syracuse native with Down syndrome, shared her experiences with the “R-word” as the Special Olympics Club’s guest speaker.
“If you must call me something, please call me Kayla,” McKeon said in her presentation to an audience of about 50 people. “I am not a retard. I am differently abled.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Adam Levine Surprises Fan with Down Syndrome

from J Space News:
Adam Levine surprised a fan with Down syndrome by joining him for a meet-and-greet session backstage at a gig this week.
Christopher Warner, a 10 year old from Maryland, came to the attention of the Maroon 5′s management team after a teacher posted a video on showing the youngster singing a compilation of the group’s tracks.
Bosses at local radio station HOT 99.5 contacted the band’s record label, and Warner was offered tickets to Maroon 5′s concert at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
He was also offered a meet-and-greet session with the musicians, and he became so excited backstage that he had to lie down, prompting Levine and his bandmates to lie on the floor alongside to soothe him.
Warner’s teacher, Avery Stanert says, “He has just been fascinated with Maroon 5 and especially Adam Levine… They (radio station bosses) arranged for backstage passes and tickets. They immediately called the record label and worked it all out.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Adam Levine did when he met this young fan will warm your heart

by Rheana Murray from
A 10-year-old boy’s dream came true when he met his idol Monday night: Adam Levine from Maroon 5.
Christopher Warner, who has Down syndrome, hardly ever stops talking about—or singing—the band’s music, one of his teachers at West Friendship Elementary School in Maryland told
“He has just been fascinated with Maroon 5 and especially Adam Levine,” said Avery Stanert, a special education teacher at the school. “He loves to listen to their music during work breaks. He draws pictures of them. He just absolutely loves them.”

So she created a video of Christopher gushing about Levine and singing the band’s hits, which went viral on YouTube and was picked up by local news stations. It eventually wound up in the hands of radio hosts at Hot 99.5’s The Kane Show, days before the band was set to play nearby in Washington, D.C.
“They arranged for backstage passes and tickets,” Stanert said. “They immediately called the record label and worked it all out.”
Christopher and his mom, Cecilia Warner, along with Stanert and three other teachers, got the VIP treatment Monday night, heading to dinner before the Maroon 5 concert at Verizon Center. “He stayed awake for the whole thing. I was impressed. He was just so excited,” Stanert said.
But when Christopher was finally face-to-face with Levine backstage after the show, he panicked and suddenly became shy, hiding behind his mom and crouching down onto the floor. Levine handled it in the best possible way—by suggesting everyone else get on the floor, too.
Stanert said she and a colleague started making Christopher’s video about two months ago, filming clips here and there, whenever Christopher launched into song or started talking about Levine’s tattoos. Christopher’s brother Michael also appears in the viral clip.
“He’s a typical 10-year-old boy,” Stanert said. “He loves music, he loves drawing, he loves his friends. He’s just a very caring, really amazing boy. And so is his twin brother. His whole family is really great.”
“We’ve been really happy to see how Down syndrome has gotten a lot of attention for this,” she added. “Kids with Down syndrome are just like their peers.”