About Us

Hayley’s ignorance of Down’s syndrome came to the fore when her daughter was born, motivating her to create world-renowned blog Downs Side Up. It challenges fear and stigma and celebrates the narratives of those with the condition.

The award-winning website is part of the greater work Hayley does toward inclusion of those with a learning disability. Her daughter Natty was the first UK model with a disability to feature in a national Back to School campaign and she believes we all need to see ourselves represented in the media.

Publishing a beautiful book for children and support material for new families, writing for various publications, taking part in a BBC documentary, giving countless interviews and working alongside the NHS as a Patient Expert Tutor to ensure medical professionals value everyone’s worth equally and learn how their words impact on new parents. Hayley ensures diversity in a gentle, heartfelt way.

She has recently become a special schools academy trustee. 

UK Blog Award highly commended finalist for Health and Social Care 2016/17
National Diversity Award Role Model for Women Finalist 2016
Winner of Britmums Brilliance in Blogging for Inspire 2015
Winner of Tots100 MAD Blog Award for Outstanding Contribution 2015 
Named a Health Service Journal Rising Star 2015
Mumsnet Inspire finalist 2015
Learning Disability Today Carer of the Year finalist 2015
Daily Mail Woman of the Year finalist 2014


I'm Hayley Goleniowska, founder of Downs Side Up, which started as a way of sharing our story and resources with other parents with a child with Down's syndrome. The blog quickly took on a life of its own, and is now the hub for many other branches such as publishing, advocacy, public speaking, media work, training and so on.

The motivation, however remains the same, to allow people to see what Down's syndrome really means today, how we are all different yet share so very much in common, regardless of our abilities.

You can contact me on downssideup@gmail.com

Making the world a better place for our children


My mission is now to inspire new parents, show the world that many incredible things are possible for our children, and shout out that Down's syndrome truly is wonderful and that life will carry on, there will be challenges, but you will not regret or wish to change any of it. 

Book I Love You Natty has sold over 1500 copies around the world


I don't want other parents to feel the overwhelming despair I did in the early days, due to my own ignorance, or to waste precious time getting over the shock of Down's syndrome. I can't turn back the clock and relive those early days, but I can buy time for new parents and support them. Through our words and pictures, our resources and by bringing the community together, we aim to support other families at what can be a difficult transition in the early days. 

Last year we welcomed our millionth reader!

We have produced a pack of conversation cards
to get new parents talking


I am an Expert by Experience working with obstetricians in their 5th year at Oxford University. We talk about language and support during antenatal screening.

By writing here at Downs Side Up and for charities and other publications and talking to groups of student midwives and nurses, I aim to gently educate society about Down's syndrome.
You can find my columns here:

Former Britmums Special Need Round-up Editor
Special Needs Jungle  
Huffington Post blogger 
Firefly Community Columnist
Telegraph Contributor

You can also find us on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  

Model Natty appears on ITV Lorraine


My youngest daughter Natty is a clothing model, pioneering for children with disabilities everywhere. She is a true ambassador in her own right, opening doors and forcing companies to be more inclusive in their approach to advertising. Natty was the first child in the UK with a disability to appear in a Back to School campaign.

Sainsbury's: Natty was the first child with a
disability to appear in a UK back to school campaign


Whether it's evidence in a Parliamentary enquiry into the Disability Abortion Law in Westminster, a visit to Number 10 to celebrate the work of charities such as Mencap, a radio interview about respite care, a quote for a newspaper about an inclusive advertising campaign or an open letter to a public figure who needs putting straight, there is always advocacy or campaigning to do.

We have featured in:

Campaign for change
The Guardian Weekend
BBC 2 documentary A World Without Down's
The Sunday Times
The Financial Times
Good Housekeeping Magazine
The Sun
The Daily Mail
The Telegraph
Bella Magazine
Take a Break Magazine
My Child and Me Magazine
Cornwall Today
Learning Disability Practice Journal
Royal College of Midwives Journal
LBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour
BBC Radio 4 You and Yours
Channel 4 Sunday Morning Live
ITV Lorraine Show
ITV Daybreak
BBC News
Sky News

Making waves in the media


I feature the stories and interviews with adults with Down's syndrome in Our Voice and regularly host linkys for other Down's syndrome blogs via #TeamT21.

We work hard to see the inclusion of children with a variety of disabilities in the media and advertising, for we all need to see ourselves represented fairly.

Downs Side Up is a mouthpiece for others