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I have Down’s syndrome – I love my life so don’t pity me

This article was taken from : https://news.sky.com/story/i-have-downs-syndrome-i-love-my-life-so-dont-pity-me-11297994

By Sky News

World Down Syndrome Day is to raise awareness of what life is like for those, like Sarah Merriman, who have the genetic condition.

Today is World Down’s Syndrome Day, a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.

Sarah Merriman tells Sky News about her life, saying she doesn’t want pity and instead just wants to be treated equally.

But that’s just part of me, I’m not a Down’s syndrome girl called Sarah.

I find some things difficult – money and numbers and I can’t drive – although my Dad says he is relieved that I’m not behind the wheel. And that’s got nothing to do with Down’s syndrome!

Let me tell you something about me.

When I was born it was a bit of a shock to my mum and dad because they weren’t expecting me – a baby with Down’s syndrome.

They weren’t told whether I would be able to walk or talk or be independent, so they were sad for a while. But they soon started to love me.

When I was four, my grandpa and my dad wrote a radio series called Minor Adjustment, which I was in.

Peter Davison and Samantha Bond played my parents.

I am also lucky to have had two books written about me.

The new one, A Major Adjustment, has just been published.

I attended mainstream school and achieved the same as four GCSEs with lots of help from my teachers and special needs assistants.

In 2014, I graduated from Foxes Academy and catering hotel in Minehead.

When I first moved there, I felt nervous about leaving home.

But soon I said to myself I love it here in Foxes. Everyone was great.

All the learners and staff were caring and kind and taught me a lot. It was a whole new experience for me.

When I was cooking at home, I told my family all about the dangers of “cross contamination” and safety in the kitchen.

And my two brothers, Daniel and Joel, used to tease me when I came home and called out: “Mind your backs, sharp knife coming through!”

But… I was right!

I had a wonderful time at Foxes and loved every minute.

They taught me so much about working life and I became more confident.

I made lots of friends and had lots of fun, but what was most important was that I learned to be independent and how to work in a team.

Then a very exciting thing happened.

I was chosen to be on the television show Kitchen Impossible with Michel Roux Jr and they helped find me a job as a waitress and trainee barista in a central London hotel.

I travel to work for an hour on the underground by myself.

I love to work and help people. It’s my dream job. I sometimes get tips from the guests! (I’m saving up to go to New York.)

I moved out of home nearly three years ago and live in supported accommodation in north London.

I love my house and my housemates and my support workers are amazing.

There’s lots to do – like going to the gym, to the pub and even going on holiday with them.

I also have a boyfriend called Leon.

My hobbies are dancing, listening to music, going to films and theatre and socialising with my friends.

I talk to my mum and dad most days and my brothers take me out.

They are cool.

I sometimes wonder what I would be like if I didn’t have Down’s syndrome – but then I wouldn’t be who I am.

I wouldn’t have the life that I have.

I am very happy.

People don’t need to feel sorry for me and others because we have Down’s syndrome.

They should be nice to us and treat us equally.

Let us enjoy our lives the same as everyone else.

Don’t limit us!