Advocates raise awareness, celebrate inclusion on World Down Syndrome Day
In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, members of advocacy group “We All Belong Utah” spent the day raising awareness about Down Syndrome.
Oakley Peterson is the creator of social media platform @nothingdownaboutit. She started the page after her 8-year-old son, Welles, was born with Down Syndrome. Since that time, she’s become an outspoken advocate for inclusion.
Her work is paying off. To kick-off WDSD, she posted a video on her Instagram account, focusing on the importance of inclusion.
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She fought last year when the Jordan School District threatened to cut special education services, and is now partly responsible for a pilot program in her child’s boundary school that allows him to attend with peers from his neighborhood.
Peterson maintains exposure is key to providing support for kids with special needs.
“It’s important because especially right now, we’re in a day and age where we’re celebrating each other’s differences,” Peterson told KSL TV.
The video shows Down Syndrome kids playing and interacting with typical kids, and they all appear to be having a great time. She believes those friendships are made possible by keeping kids of all abilities in their boundary schools.
Kathryn Wittwer agrees. Her 10-year-old son, Eddie, has Down Syndrome, too. She’s grateful for a day to celebrate him and teach other people about his diagnosis.
“We are so grateful to bring awareness about how amazing these kiddos are and all of the contributions they can make to society,” Wittwer said.
The families wrapped up the day with a big dance party at the Wittwer’s house – which is fitting, because according to Welles’ and Eddie’s friends, both boys love to dance.
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