New campaign hopes to challenge perceptions around Down syndrome

by Emma Nolan

The Down Syndrome Centre have just launched the second year of their 21 Faces campaign which celebrates the uniqueness and diversity of children with Down syndrome.
21 Faces is a portrait photo campaign that features 21 of the children that use the services at The Down Syndrome Centre.
It celebrates each child’s unique qualities, champions their potential and aims to challenge some misconceptions along the way.
One of the 21 Faces featured is six-year-old Alan Ryan from Stepaside.
“Alan started junior infants in ‘big school’ this year and he has taken to it like a fish to water,” Alan’s mum Jackie said.
“He goes to school every day with a big smiley face and he comes out the exact same way.
“People often ask me if he is ever in bad form – the truth is, he isn’t! He is the most pleasant, happy and fun-loving little man you could ever hope to meet, and he has an amazing sense of humour.”
Alan attends The Down Syndrome Centre, where he loves his sessions so much he doesn’t even realise he’s doing therapy when he’s there.
“I can honestly say that our family would be lost without this special place,” Jackie said.
Occupational therapist at the centre, Ellie Reilly said that Alan’s “talents knows no bounds”.
“Anything he puts his hand to, he does it flawlessly, with complete determination and in total style.”
Lorraine Murphy from The Down Syndrome Centre told The Gazette: “As well as celebrating the children’s development, 21 Faces also aims to personalise the discussion about Down syndrome and make a connection with people.
“By reading the children’s stories, viewing their family photos and getting a glimpse of their personalities and an insight into their daily lives, we hope to challenge some pre-conceived ideas about Down syndrome and to encourage the viewer to see the children for themselves and as children first and foremost.”
Read more about Alan and the other children of the 21 Faces campaign at and keep an eye out for the poster campaign by Dublin Bus and an outdoor poster campaign by Irish Poster Advertising around Dublin City Centre during the month of July.

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