Here's what happened when we gathered a group of young models with Down's Syndrome togetherMany of you know that Natty, our 6 year old daughter is one of the UK's first little models in the UK with Down's Syndrome.
|Natty poses on the steps of the Normansfield Theatre
Exactly a year ago national press stories focussed on what was then ground-breaking stuff, a rarity, a surprise. Natty and Seb, who was taken on by M&S, featured in nearly every magazine and paper in the land.
|Natty and Seb meet for the first time
I wrote a lot about our pioneers and others in the USA doing the same. And then I began wondering how many more children with disabilities working as models. Sadly I could find no child with any disability other than Down's Syndrome doing such work, a sign perhaps that our children are still viewed as cute. We have a way to go on this path.
|Thumbs up for #adinclusion
I figured if we could get all these children together for a photoshoot we could show the world how far we had come in a year, that the floodgates were now open, and in the same stroke we would encourage even more companies to follow suit. And what better way to celebrate the forthcoming World Downs Syndrome Day on 21st March, a day we will mark by wearing lots of mismatched socks.
|Harvey, Natty and Thea show of the socks Penny Green bought them
A wonderful journalist called Kate Thompson offered to help with the challenge, and we were off, on an exciting mission. Everyone agreed to meet, coming from all over the country and Kate tried to find a studio to accomodate us. Then the lovely people at the Down's Syndrome Association offered to host us all, and allow us to take photos in the stunningly beautiful theatre that John Langdon Down had created for those he cared for to act in.
|The Langdon Down family tree in the museum
It was a hugely emotional day, standing in the places that many had passed through, some in much less happy times than others, as Normansfield became an institution later on. One could almost feel their presence, odd to say but true. I became quite tearful, as did a few other parents and DSA staff. Also so many movers and shakers in one room is quite a rarity.
|Some of the Mums and models in the Normansfield theatre
Watching our children run and giggle and pose and hug and make friendships and scoff tasty treats, the world so much more their oyster than ever before in history.
|Natty and Seb enjoy crisps and a cuddle while Rosie's Dad Tom takes a picture
|Kostas, Seb, Poppy, Thea and little Rosie
But we got there in the end :)
|Kostas, Seb, Rosie, Poppy, Thea, Harvey, Natty and Jack
Who knows, maybe next year we'll be seeing stories about children with other disabilities modelling, or better still, it just won't be news anymore...