Infants, children and adults with Down syndrome often suffer the effects of social and ethical stigmas. From the moment of a prenatal diagnosis and well into adulthood (if they are not aborted), individuals with Down Syndrome – and their families – may suffer from discrimination, misunderstanding, and ridicule simply because of chromosomal differences.
In an inspiring public move, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have recently reached out in a way that may help to diminish some of the stigma from which persons with Down syndrome and their families suffer.
During Kate Middleton’s pregnancy with Prince George, Tazia Fawley, who has Down syndrome, spent much of her time crafting a beautiful painting in hopes that the couple would receive her offering as a gift after the prince was born. According to the Huffington Post, the painting depicts Rupert the Bear, a children’s classic, flying in a hot air balloon. You can view the painting here.
Tazia spent six months on the painting and when it was completed, the director of Heart and Sold (an organization which advocates for artists with Down syndrome) took a photo of the painting and sent it to the royal couple, asking whether the young family would be willing to accept the painting as a gift.
Although William and Kate are not privy to accepting gifts from the public, they enthusiastically received the beautiful piece of artwork. Tazia’s mother, who hopes that the celebrity influence of the royal couple will encourage people who discriminate against Down syndrome, commented on the incident, saying:
In England, there always has been a stigma attached to [Down syndrome], and now that is washed away by the fact that the Duke and Duchess have accepted that painting. For this to happen, it’s kind of turned that negativity around.
Fawley’s mother also hopes that the event will inspire and encourage other individuals with Down syndrome to pursue their dreams.
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