The media communicate to the masses what is acceptable, what is 'the norm'. The fact that the UK's most widely circulated glossy magazine has featured a child with a learning disability as an angel in their Christmas edition is very important news indeed
|Natty features in Good Housekeeping Magazine, photos by @Katie Wilson|
All children love a cool outfit and who doesn't love sparkles and glitter, even if they did happen in August for Natty and I.
It was an amazing day in London, we were spoit rotten, we met incredible women, but most of all, we were helping to bring Learning Disability into everyone's homes, into all areas of life. No longer should anyone be hidden away from view.
|Natty meets Kelly Hearing Dog on set|
|Natty and I have a little cuddle during make-up, photo by Kelly Hearing Dog|
Usually chained to my desk, it was wonderful to be forced outside my comfort zone and dressed in clothes I would never have chosen for myself,including 2 very large pairs of support knickers! But I loved the result. Natty of course is used to all of that, being a professional model and all! She didn't even question why decorations were being put up in Summer, she took it all in her stride.
|A diva gets her hair done on set|
The story on the magazine is wonderfully positive and details why Christmas is so important for us as a family. Natty is short for Natalia, which means birth. Born 3 weeks early, she was due on Christmas Eve, but after spending 3 weeks in neonatal care, this was the day we were finally given the go ahead to bring her home from where she strengthened and grew and melted everyone's hearts.
Last year she had her first speaking part in the school nativity, as the angel. We practiced and rehearsed, we made flash cards and used Makaton sign language to learn those lines. But when the day dawned, a chest infection had worsened and she became very ill. Heart palpitations, listlessness and vomiting meant a dash to the GP where it was discovered that she had developed an allergy to penicillin.
We were all so emotional that she had missed the play that night. Tears just fell from my face all evening and weeks later Natty kept asking when the nativity play would be taking place. She mustn't couldn't believe she'd missed it.
So thank you to Good Housekeeping Magazine for more than making up for missing her play last year, by making her their special angel. She's looking forward to a speaking part this year now and to changing a few more perceptions of Down's syndrome.
I am honoured to announce that Downs Side Up is a finalist in the
Learning Disability Today Journal Awards in the Parent Carer Advocate section.