Earlier this year, a group of mothers collaborated in a heartwarming video that sends an important message. The music video filmed in the style of Carpool Karaoke features 50 moms with their four-year-olds who have Down syndrome. The video highlights the ordinary and beautiful relationships of the moms and their children, raising awareness about children with Down syndrome as part of World Down Syndrome Awareness Day 2018.
The touching video reached an astonishing 4.5 million views on YouTube, with millions more on other platforms. The video shows the moms and children lip syncing the Christina Perri song “A Thousand Years” with Makaton sign language. Makaton is a simplified version of British sign language used to help people with learning disabilities communicate.
According to the Huffington Post UK, the group of moms in the video connected through a Facebook group called “Designer Genes” for parents of children with Down syndrome born in 2013 and 2014. The name of the Facebook group is a humorous take on the fact that people with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome. Many similar support groups are named “Designer Genes,” and other Down syndrome advocates have called the extra chromosome “The Love Chromosome.” These online communities are places for families to share their journeys with children with Down syndrome.
Tragically, many people facing a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child are given little information about what life with a child with Down syndrome is actually like. Many of the world’s most progressive nations fuel stigma and misunderstanding about Down syndrome in their efforts to “eliminate” Down syndrome through discriminatory abortions that take the life of a child solely because that child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. The reality is living with Down syndrome can be challenging, but those challenges, parents are quick to show, are accompanied by incredible love and joy.
Angela Mui, one of the mothers featured in the video, told the Huffington Post UK,
The UK has a 90% termination rate for babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in the womb. I want people to know having a child with Down’s syndrome isn’t scary; in fact it is a wonderful adventure; full of joy, love and yes some challenges, just like having any typical child. I think the video is so powerful because it is just a group of mummies and children getting together to have some fun signing along to a song. We all have something in common which bonds us together. We wouldn’t change our children but we want to change the world for our children.
Using the hashtag #wouldntchangeathing, parents of children with Down syndrome shared the beautiful video and their stories of raising these special children, and the views continue to grow.
The video was inspired by the Makaton accompanied Carpool Karaoke series by Singing Hands UK. Administrators for the Singing Hands YouTube channel commented on the parents’ video, “We are thrilled that you enjoyed our Makaton-signed version of this song so much that it inspired you to get together and make your own video. What a huge task to get so many Mummies and children involved – bravo to you all! Am sure the world will LOVE this as much as we do.”
The group also received enthusiastic support from the artist behind the song they used. The moms reached out to American singer Christina Perri for permission to use her song “A Thousand Years” in the video. They contacted her through her husband’s Twitter account, and, according to Huffington Post UK, the couple responded within an hour with their support.
With millions of views so far, there is no telling how far this moving video will reach.