Scottish kids with Down’s syndrome star in educational resource
Seven Scottish kids with Down’s syndrome are the stars of an innovative educational resource aimed at raising awareness of the condition amongst schoolchildren throughout the UK and dispelling the stigma and myths associated with it.
The resource, produced by the multi award-winning Paisley-based charity I Am Me Scotland, includes a short film, animation and an interactive classroom lesson narrated by children who have Down’s syndrome and is being launched on 1 October, to coincide with the start of Down’s syndrome Awareness month.
It will be available free to schools in Scotland and throughout the UK via the charity’s on-line learning platform.
The lesson, which includes an exciting new animation featuring characters based on the seven youngsters involved in the video, is narrated by eight-year-old Chloe (Lennon) from Irvine, who is a primary four pupil at Castle Park Primary school in Irvine.
I Am Me Scotland was set up to educate young people and the wider community about disabilities, bullying and hate crime and the they work directly with children, young people and disabled people to develop their ground breaking resources.
Every year in Scotland, around 70 babies are born with Down’s syndrome, which is when the child is gifted with an extra chromosome in their DNA.
It is estimated that about 4,500 people in Scotland are living with Down’s syndrome.
As well as raising awareness of Down’s syndrome amongst schoolchildren, the video, animation and lesson also celebrate the abilities and achievements of children with the condition and the love and joy they bring to their parents, families and friends.
For example, 6 year old Rian from Inchinnan loves to dance and uses Makaton to help aid his speech, while 9 year old Charlotte from Renfrew tells us all about her favourite and least favourite foods and Grace, aged 16 from Barrhead explains her love of concerts, dancing and Makaton.
As Chloe explains in the introduction to the lesson, “As you can see we’re all different, unique individuals, with likes and dislikes.
“However, we do have one little thing in common; well apart from all being amazing, we would like to tell you about Down’s syndrome”
The resource was made with the assistance of Wouldn’t Change a Thing, a UK-wide charity which aims to change outdated perceptions of Down’s syndrome and Down’s syndrome Scotland, established in 1982 and dedicated solely to supporting people with Down’s syndrome and their families and carers.
The animated characters have been created by London-based animator Alex Amelines who collaborated with I Am Me in its highly acclaimed educational resource on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Carol Burt-Wilson (MBE), the I Am Me charity founder said; “Working with the children to develop this lesson has been an incredible experience.
“The team and volunteers have enjoyed working with the group of seven children who star in the film and the animation, but also the other 11 children who worked extremely hard to provide the voice overs for the lesson, making them more accessible and promoting peer to peer learning.
“Making education inclusive provides the opportunity for children and young people to learn the importance of understanding and respecting difference, whilst helping to tackle stigma and prejudice.
“We are looking forward to continuing to build our inclusive education platform for children and young people across Scotland”
Eddie McConnell, chief executive of Down’s syndrome Scotland, said; “We are delighted to have worked with I Am Me on this wonderful project.
“It is a fantastic resource and we are sure it will serve as an amazing awareness-raising tool for children and young people that will show them the potential of everyone living with an extra chromosome and encourage them to create a more including society for everyone.”
Tania Charlton, Director and Charity Trustee of Wouldn’t Change a Thing, said, “We’re delighted to be part of this world first – an eight-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome educating the wider world about the detail of her condition.”
I Am Me has done an outstanding job at creating this video and lesson, but the biggest high-five has to go to Chloe, a long-time WCAT member, who narrated the animation.
“This educational resource will be used everywhere where people, young and old, want to, and need to learn about what Down’s syndrome is.”