Hayley’s ignorance of Down’s syndrome came to the fore when her daughter was born, motivating her to create world-renowned blog Downs Side Up. It challenges fear and stigma and celebrates the narratives of those with the condition.
The award-winning website is part of the greater work Hayley does toward inclusion of those with a learning disability. Her daughter Natty was the first UK model with a disability to feature in a national Back to School campaign and she believes we all need to see ourselves represented in the media.
I ask Hayley about her personal journey & what exactly Down’s Syndrome is. I ask what are the most common stages parents go through, as well as asking her what can parents do to adjust & get the support they need. I ask what is helpful to focus on when a baby is born with Down’s Syndrome & Hayley dispels some myths around having a child with Down’s Syndrome.
Publishing a beautiful book for children and support material for new families, writing for various publications, taking part in a BBC documentary, giving countless interviews and working alongside the NHS as a Patient Expert Tutor to ensure medical professionals value everyone’s worth equally and learn how their words impact on new parents. Hayley ensures diversity in a gentle, heartfelt way. She has recently become a special schools academy trustee.
Achievements UK Blog Award finalist for Health and Social Care 2016/17
National Diversity Award Role Model for Women Finalist 2016 Winner of Britmums Brilliance in Blogging for Inspire 2015 Winner of Tots100 MAD Blog Award for Outstanding Contribution 2015 Named a Health Service Journal Rising Star 2015 Mumsnet Inspire finalist 2015 Learning Disability Today Carer of the Year finalist 2015 Daily Mail Woman of the Year finalist 2014
I Love You Natty: A Sibling’s Introduction to Down’s Syndrome by Mia Goleniowska aged 10
Mia, now 10, became a big sister at the age of two. Her parents sought for a bright and modern sibling support book that would explain why her baby sister needed to spend some time in hospital and why she needed a little extra support. Several years on and Mia began leaving notes and poems for Natty. Mum Hayley collected them and they became the basis for Mia’s first book, together with the family’s snap shots.
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