Imogen Leslie is, to her parents and anyone who knows her, perfect.
Imogen Leslie is, to her parents and anyone who knows her, perfect.

'We should not fear disability'

TODAY is World Down Syndrome Day.

Warwick mum-of-three Rachel Leslie shares her story about when she found out her daughter Imogen, now almost eight years old, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.


THE night my big girl was born I asked the nurses, "Is everything OK? She doesn't have Down's Syndrome or anything?"

To me she was, and still is, perfect but mother's intuition knew there was something up.

The nurses just shooshed me and told me to get some rest.

The next morning the doctor confirmed what my gut had been telling me. "I think we need to consider Down's Syndrome".

I've learnt so much since that day, firstly, it's Down Syndrome, not Down's, and certainly not Downsie.

The second big thing I've learnt is that those nurses were perpetuating a culture where we fear Down syndrome.

They thought it was a negative attribute, something to not be talked about. That disability is something to be feared.

The more we talk about Down Syndrome the more we will see there is nothing to fear. My big girl has given me purpose and she has inspired more people than I can count.

The world would be a poorer place without diversity, without Down Syndrome.

Imogen inspired me to become a special education consultant and to blog about our lives in order to help others. Visit http://unlesssomebody

Fast facts

Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, occurs in most cases at the point of conception, when a baby is conceived with an extra #21 chromosome.

It is not caused by anything that parents might or might not do.

The condition affects around one in 1150 live births in Australia.

92% of positive pre-natal testing results in termination.

People born with Down Syndrome share some common features but they also inherit many of their own family's characteristics. This means they are as alike and as different from each other as the rest of the population.

Every individual with Down Syndrome has a different personality with different likes and dislikes.

Over the last 30 years, the average life expectancy of a person with Down Syndrome has increased from less than 30 years of age, to today when it is common to see people with Down Syndrome living well into their sixties. It expected that this life span will continue to increase.