It’s been just over a year since our youngest, Chiara, came into our lives.
If you missed my post, Raising Down’s, she had Down’s syndrome. Over the last 13 months we’ve seen her grow from a tiny baby, to a bouncing little toddler. She can sit up unaided, she is on the verge of becoming mobile and she is babbling away in a language all of her own . Each and every one of her milestone has been achieved with a breath of determination that I can confidently say comes straight from her mother.
She has also opened a new world to us…
Back in October my wife, Marlo, arranged a program with the company she works for to hire an intern. The intern was to work one day a week for the next three months. For legal reasons I can’t name the company but they are an international luxury fashion brand and her store is located just off Bond street, in the heart on London’s west end. They hired a young vibrant woman called Tara who also happens to have Down’s syndrome. It was arranged in conjunction with the Down’s syndrome associations (DSA) workFit program.
According to the DSA my wife’s company are the first luxury retail store to employ someone with Down’s syndrome. When it comes to working, people with Down’s are usually seen to be shelf stackers or trolly collectors. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs it’s rare to associate luxury retail with Down’s syndrome.
To me and Marlo this is a gargantuan step forward in social responsibility. People with Down’s, and other special needs, have a great deal to offer the world. It’s only in the last two decades that there has been a shift in the zeitgeist and less abled people are being seen as equals rather that inferiors. All they need is the chance and opportunity to shine. Thanks to Marlo’s company and others like them that’s exactly what they’re getting, and rightfully so.
Marlo comes home most Friday evenings and regales me with tales of Tara’s day. She works on the shop floor, liaising with clients and finalising sales, inputting valuable data into the computer system and flirts outrageously with the male members of the sales staff. She is universally loved by every member of staff and clients have been pleasantly surprised with her professionalism and her humour. Tara belongs in fashion because there, she is in her element.
We hope in the future that more company’s, like my Marlo’s, will adopt a healthier attitude towards people with Down’s, autism or any other genetic, physical or mental disability so that they may be granted the chance to forge a life that they deserve.
Being parents of a child with Down’s it gives us overwhelming joy that when Chiara reaches an age where she is ready to leave the nest, she can do so in a world that will grant her every opportunity that has been afforded to me, her mother and her elder sister.
‘If you focus on people disabilities then you’ll over look their abilities’