Who we are Blog Why inclusion matters We're rocking our socks on Wednesday 21 March to celebrate Down's Syndrome Awareness Day 2018. Angela is one of our mums who comes along to our early years sessions every week with her daughter, Iona, aged five. Angela says, "At my 20 week pregnancy scan, I found out that my daughter Iona had a congenital heart defect, and that there was a high likelihood that she also had Down’s syndrome. I feared for her life, so her possible Down's syndrome diagnosis was secondary to that. "When she was born and it was confirmed that she had the extra chromosome, as well as the joy at having a very tiny, beautiful baby girl, there was a great deal of anxiety about what her life would look like. I had so little experience of the condition and, to be honest, the medical literature left me cold and feeling dismayed. "What had made the difference were the accounts I read during my pregnancy by proud and delighted parents who shared their experiences of life with their little chromosomally enhanced children. I also remembered seeing a mother with a young boy who happened to have Down’s syndrome in a supermarket several years ago, and feeling really struck by how joyful their connection was. "Little by little, the fear dissipated and was replaced by the sheer joy of watching this little person emerge. She had open heart surgery at six months and battled through it with a determination that I now see is a big part of her personality. She is a feisty, sweet, funny and clever little girl - and not at all scary! It is, in fact, a great privilege to have her in our lives. "The reason inclusion matters is that it takes away the unnecessary fear surrounding Down's syndrome. The more visible people with the condition are within their communities, schools, in the media, in advertising, in creative projects, in the workplace, in life generally, the more they will be given the recognition and acceptance that they so richly deserve. One day, I will have to explain to my daughter why the termination rate for Down's syndrome pregnancies is over 90% and rising, and I just hope that by then she will have had enough of a positive experience through inclusion to know that she is loved and valued, and every bit as deserving of life as everyone else."