Topics: Ethical Living | Society

Photo essay challenges Down syndrome stereotypes

The photographer hopes the portraits will encourage people to see more in those with the genetic difference

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Jamie. Jamie's family:
Jamie. Jamie's family: "People with Down syndrome are just like everyone else. They are not always happy. They are not eternal children. They have a plethora of emotions and abilities. They grow up, go to college, have careers, get married, some even have kids. The only limit a person with Down syndrome has is the one society sets on them." (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)

Waterloo, Ont. photographer Hilary Gauld-Camilleri has captured beautiful portraits of children and adults with Down syndrome.

The “More to Me” photo series for the Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society celebrates how far we have come in shifting societal perceptions of people with the genetic difference. Quotes accompanying each photo also address the stereotypes that still exist.

Canadian Down Syndrome Week begins Friday and runs until Nov. 7.

Jessica. Jessica's family: "People with Down syndrome have the ability to be role models. My daughter is an active and loved part of her community and school." (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Jessica
Jessica’s family: “People with Down syndrome have the ability to be role models. My daughter is an active and loved part of her community and school.” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Katie. Katie's family: "We are no more 'special' than any other parents who have been blessed with a new baby. Like most parents, we are doing our very best, trying to figure things out as we go, making mistakes along the way, and celebrating the joys our daughter gives to us." (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Katie
Katie’s family: “We are no more ‘special’ than any other parents who have been blessed with a new baby. Like most parents, we are doing our very best, trying to figure things out as we go, making mistakes along the way, and celebrating the joys our daughter gives to us.” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Colin: "Some people said I would never learn to take the city bus. I prove them wrong every time I go to work. I love to take the bus!" (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Colin: “Some people said I would never learn to take the city bus. I prove them wrong every time I go to work. I love to take the bus!” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Michael. Michael's family: "I have a great life, but I am not a happy person 24 hours a day as many people think those with Down syndrome are. I have hopes and dreams just like everyone else and hope that one day, I will achieve them all!" (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Michael
Michael’s family: “I have a great life, but I am not a happy person 24 hours a day as many people think those with Down syndrome are. I have hopes and dreams just like everyone else and hope that one day, I will achieve them all!” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Noelle. Noelle's family: "We understand that when people look at Noelle, Down syndrome is one of the first things they see, like her blonde hair or her blue eyes, but we want people to know that it is not what defines who she is. She is a unique individual with strong opinions and ideas. She is a fierce self advocate, and Down syndrome is an important part of who she is, but it is only one of many." (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Noelle
Noelle’s family: “We understand that when people look at Noelle, Down syndrome is one of the first things they see, like her blonde hair or her blue eyes, but we want people to know that it is not what defines who she is. She is a unique individual with strong opinions and ideas. She is a fierce self advocate, and Down syndrome is an important part of who she is, but it is only one of many.” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Simon. Simon's family: "If I could help the world understand that 'we' are people with hopes and dreams, feelings and understand so much more than people may know. We can learn at any age, and that if you really take the time to learn to communicate with us it would be amazing! We spend so much of our time trying to learn to be in your world — it would be wonderful if people could learn to be in ours. It starts with a smile and ends with a hug." (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Simon
Simon’s family: “If I could help the world understand that ‘we’ are people with hopes and dreams, feelings and understand so much more than people may know. We can learn at any age, and that if you really take the time to learn to communicate with us it would be amazing! We spend so much of our time trying to learn to be in your world — it would be wonderful if people could learn to be in ours. It starts with a smile and ends with a hug.” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Bandagi. Bandagi's family: "People with Down syndrome are very capable and should be provided with opportunities to prove their abilities." (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Bandagi
Bandagi’s family: “People with Down syndrome are very capable and should be provided with opportunities to prove their abilities.” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Kaleb. Kaleb's family: "I've got big dreams! I am going to grow up to be a positive force in my community." (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Kaleb
Kaleb’s family: “I’ve got big dreams! I am going to grow up to be a positive force in my community.” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)
Samantha. Samantha's family: "People with Down Syndrome aren't ALWAYS happy!! They have good and bad days just like every other person!!" (Photo: Hilary Gauld Camilleri)
Samantha
Samantha’s family: “People with Down syndrome aren’t ALWAYS happy!! They have good and bad days just like every other person!!” (Photo: Hilary Gauld-Camilleri)

See the full collection of portraits on Instagram.

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  • says:

    Lovely group of kids ! I have a Downs brother who is fit and well at age 61 !

  • says:

    Wonderful photos! Thank you!