Empowering photography book smashes Down Syndrome stereotypes

Empowering photography book smashes Down Syndrome stereotypes

The ABC has published an uplifting piece titled Down Syndrome portrait book aiming to ‘smash old stereotypes’ and celebrate condition.

Stephanie Rodden, founder of the advocacy organisation ‘Celebrate T21’, has created a series of portrait photography books celebrating people with the condition, to be given to families who have received a diagnosis as a way to break down stereotypes and change the way the condition is perceived.

The participants are from around Australia and photographers have generously donated their time to the cause.

Ms Rodden and other mothers of children with Down Syndrome, are speaking out about the negative way that the news of such a diagnosis is given to families by medical professionals. They say that families who receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis are often given little support and are encouraged to terminate.

These experiences inspired Ms Rodden to create the books to show people with Down Syndrome in an empowering light.

"We're trying to change that narrative to be more positive and a 'congratulations' because we're having a baby and that should be celebrated."

Kylie Paskett, featured in the book with her son Felix who has Down Syndrome, said she wanted people to treat her son’s Down Syndrome as only a "small part of who he is".

"I want people to see what he, and others with T21, can do and not focus on what they can't. I want him to be loved and respected for who he is as a person. And I want those old stereotypes to be left in the past and for people to see that society is so much better for having diversity as a part of it.”