CHILDREN with Down’s syndrome in Coventry can be part of a special photo shoot boosting awareness of the condition.
A project called Down Right Beautiful has been launched by 22-year-old photographer Nicole Perkins.
It will be completed in honour of Down’s syndrome awareness month in October and is inspired by Nicole’s previous experience working with children with additional needs.
The project will culminate in an online gallery with pictures of young people together with stories about their condition.
She is calling on families all over the West Midlands to take part.
It will also focus on how news of a diagnosis was delivered and advice to expectant parents who might be going through the experience.
Nicole says she is driven by the ‘shockingly high’ statistic that nine out of 10 women go on to terminate a pregnancy after a Down’s syndrome diagnosis – something she says she ‘desperately wants to change.’
The Don’t Screen Us Out campaign which is calling for the government to re-examine antenatal screening for Down’s syndrome has welcomed Nicole’s project.
Its support comes after government announced plans to introduce a new Down’s syndrome screening test later this year.
Nicole said: “Studies show people with Down’s syndrome, and their families, are happy with their lives.
“The Down Right Beautiful project portrays the more positive, lived experience of Down’s syndrome, an experience that must be more closely considered by governments considering antenatal screening programmes.
“Its launch is timely, as focus is soon going to be on screening tests rather than the Down’s syndrome community, who should be considered as an accepted part of our diverse society.”
Julie Williams, from Solihull, was part of the highly successful ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing – 50 Mums 50 Kids 1 Extra Chromosome’ video released on World Down syndrome day this year.
She also became involved in the #wouldntchangeathing awareness group.
She pledged her support to the Down Right Beautiful project, and put her four-year-old son Evan forward for the project.
She said: “I wanted to be part of the campaign as soon as I became aware of it.
“I think it shows our kids’ beauty from the outside but also from the inside too, their intense sense of fun and mischief but most of all love beyond limits, that no one can see unless you have experience of knowing and/or loving a person with the syndrome.”
Nicole added: “During this project I have met the most lovely and inspiring people.
“Not only the models involved but their families too. I hope we can make a difference for not only these but for so many more families who need positivity and support.”
Down Right Beautiful can be viewed on nicolelouisep.wixsite.com/downrightbeautiful/intro