Have you seen the beautiful and inspiring video that 50 mothers of children with Down's syndrome created to support World Down Syndrome Day 2018? The clip has had over 25 million views on social media. One of the mothers, Karen Baldi, explains how the video came about.
It all started amongst a group of proud parents who have been told across the media this last year that children like theirs would be better off ‘screened out’.
A mum of a 4-year-old who has Down’s syndrome saw a Singing Hands carpool karaoke video signed with Makaton and thought how amazing it would be to replicate the idea with other mums and their young children who also have an extra chromosome.
The mums are all part of a Facebook group known as Designer Genes, created for parents who have a child with Down’s syndrome born in 2013/14. Singing Hands videos have helped many in the group learn Makaton to support their children’s communication development. The song in question is the multi-platinum soundtrack to the Twilight films: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.
Thoughts became a reality and before long over 50 mums had filmed themselves in their cars, and uploaded the results.
When a dad in the group pulled all those clips together, the result was astonishing - a guaranteed positive tear-jerker that visualised every conceivable message about disability, diversity and inclusion without having to say a word.
Within 24 hours of the first draft being posted in secret (and behind a password) it already had 1,500 views and the group knew they had a potential hit for the upcoming World Down Syndrome Day - an annual worldwide campaign on 21st March, sharing positive messages and dispelling myths about the condition.
In an attempt to avoid copyright issues the group contacted the original artist, Christina Perri, on Twitter via her husband, Paul Costabile. Within an hour, the LA-based couple were declaring their heartfelt support for the idea, committing their multi-million social media following and waiving any copyright claim to the music in support of the campaign.
In a bizarre twist of fate and serendipity, Paul Costabile went on to say that he is a life-long advocate of children with special needs, in particular Down’s syndrome, and had in fact produced the iconic film More Alike Than Different with his sister Lauren for World Down Syndrome Day 2015. He also indicated that he is involved in an event in New York this year for kids with Down‘s syndrome to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day 2018.