What do Charlie and Milo of Boise, Idaho, and Ollie and Cameron of Dundee, Scotland, have in common? The two sets of twins boys have Down syndrome, and… they’re all social media stars!
Charlie and Milo, nicknamed Chuckles and Meatloaf in infancy, are three-year-old fraternal twins. Ollie and Cameron are 6 year old identical twins. Charlie and Milo have their own Facebook and Instagram followers, and were featured by the TODAY show in March of 2019. Ollie and Cameron are on Facebook and Twitter and were highlighted by ellenNation in 2015.
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One of my biggest fears for my boys relates to how the world will treat them. Right now they are young, cute and they charm their way into the hearts of everyone they meet. . But what happens when they get older and lose some of that little boy cuteness? What happens when they are in school and other kids don’t choose to be kind and even decide to exclude or ridicule them? What happens when they are grown and others around don’t bother to make space for them? What happens when they experience discrimination or just plain meanness? . That’s a big part of why I’m here now sharing our life. I hope to open the eyes of those who see these posts. Please see my boys and their potential, their unique personalities and what they have to offer the world. Please continue to see that as they grow. Please take the time to educate those around you as well – your friends, family, co-workers, and your children. Please do what you can to raise children to be kind, to appreciate differences and to include everyone. . To see some other moms and how they handle their greatest fears about their child’s disability and also how you can make a difference, follow #raisinglittleworldchangersweek9 . #twinswithdownsyndrome #downsyndromeawareness #downsyndromerocks #t21 #theluckyfew
The boys are growing up in a world on the one hand more accepting and inclusive of children and adults with disabilities than ever before — with companies like Kenzie’s Chromosome Crusaders encouraging people to “Love Every Chromosome” and Reeve’s Tees urging “Get Comfortable with Difference.” On the other hand, individuals with Down syndrome face unprecedented targeting for abortion when their chromosomal condition is diagnosed in the womb.
Certainly, a diagnosis of Down syndrome, especially when a family has few social contacts living with Down syndrome, can initially be frightening. How will the family cope? What will the child’s future look like?
Enter the power of social media. Charlie and Milo’s mom told the TODAY show of their social media accounts, “I just wanted it to be more of a way to share, ‘This is our life; and this is what it’s really like to grow up and have twins in your home with Down syndrome. Because that’s what I wanted to know when I got the diagnosis — what is this life really, really, really like? I don’t just want to see rainbows and butterflies and miracles every day.”
Ollie and Cameron’s Facebook page reads similarly: “We hope that this page will help people to realise that a diagnosis of DS, either after birth (like us) or antenatally, is nothing to be scared or sad about. Children and adults with DS have the potential to live happy, fulfilled lives, just like anybody else and we hope that this page will illustrate that over the years.”
What’s even more amazing is that Charlie and Milo’s mom Julie was in contact with Ollie and Cameron’s family after her boys’ prenatal diagnosis.
Now, both families offer glimpses of everyday life, including honesty about the tough parts, so that others don’t have to be afraid. Charlie and Milo’s fanbase has followed along with trips to summer day camp, the pediatrician, and therapy appointments, smiling all the way.
Again and again, individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities invite us to look at the world through a different lens, to see the value in every person simply because they exist.
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