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Parents launch group for Downs Syndrome

PUBLISHED: 14:02 02 February 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010

PROUD parents have launched a support group to celebrate the talents of people with Down's Syndrome.

Trudy Ransome, Sharon Hobbs and Julie Clinch all have children born with the condition, and they are tired of Down's Syndrome sufferers of all ages being looked down on.

PROUD parents have launched a support group to celebrate the talents of people with Down's Syndrome.

Trudy Ransome, Sharon Hobbs and Julie Clinch all have children born with the condition, and they are tired of Down's Syndrome sufferers of all ages being looked down on.

Instead of dwelling on the difficulties of the condition, Trudy has a "positive wall" of posters, newspaper cuttings and celebrity signatures of support, covering the wall of an office in her home at June Avenue, Ipswich.

The group, called Local Opportunities and Awareness of Down's Syndrome, will work alongside the Suffolk and Essex branches of the national Down's Syndrome Association which Trudy has worked for, for the past year.

It will offer a newsletter featuring art and stories for people with the syndrome to show their talents, put people in touch for friendship and support, organise events, and help stop siblings feeling left out.

Trudy, 34, whose three-year-old daughter Alice has Down's Syndrome, said: "Even my own relatives say 'Alice looks like she's growing out of it' as she gets older, because she's not showing the characteristics so obviously, but I say she's always been the same girl inside.

"There's a lot of staring that goes on, and people with Down's Syndrome do have feelings as well."

She added that the group will stop brothers and sisters feeling left out, and said: "One little girl told her mum she wished she had special needs because her brother had it and got all the attention."

Sharon, 27, whose seven-month-old son Kyle has Down's Syndrome, said enough wasn't heard about the positive side of things.

She said: "There is still a stigma in society. People with Down's Syndrome are just as capable as anyone else. It might take them a bit longer to do things, but they will get there. Some people go on to write books, for example."

Julie, 34, from Colchester, added that a student with the syndrome who is a student in the Essex garrison town, had just achieved a degree.

She said: "Twenty years ago they didn't think it was worth educating people with Down's Syndrome."

There is a lot of help for parents with babies diagnosed with the syndrome, but the group also aims to support older people, and their families.

Trudy said: "We want to offer a service to people to get together, arrange events and enjoy social activities."

Sharon used to work at Otley College where several students had MS, but said: "That seemed to be their whole life. There seemed to be nothing on offer after the age of 19."

The trio got together after Trudy gave Sharon, of Largent Grove, Kesgrave, support in hospital, and Julie read about the Ransome family in the Evening Star last month.

They still need a colour photocopier, and funding, and thanked Johnson's drycleaners for donating stationery.

They have received phone calls from people who are interested, and would welcome calls on 01473 430997 or email: trudy.1@ntlworld.com.

Weblink: www.dsa-uk.com

Factfile:

N Down's Syndrome is a common form of learning disability.

N It is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome passed on at the time of conception.

N This results in a disruption in growth and developmental delay.

N Each person is individual and different as within the rest of the population but many with this syndrome share some physical characteristics including poor muscle tone and many children have intermittent hearing loss.

N Children with Down's Syndrome may also have health problems including heart defects.

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