Lindale Elementary School has no problem in pulling up their socks to take on inclusion.
The school celebrated World Down Syndrome Day yesterday by showing solidarity through footwear. Teachers, students and staff showed support by donning some mismatched socks and leg-warmers to show that just because it's a bit different, doesn’t mean it isn’t a sock.
“We wanted to something that would raise awareness and advocate for rights and inclusion,” Allison Shillington, a teacher at Lindale and mother to Nikki Shillington, a Grade 6 student at Lindale who has Down syndrome (DS). “Everyone is wearing the brightest, weirdest mismatched socks. They look different, feel different but they’re still socks –– just like people with Down syndrome.”
From being a parent of a child with DS, Shillington said, she is an active member with advocacy groups and societies geared towards the DS community. “Because I’m a part of the society, I’ve personally contacted them and have a lot of story books for awareness, but this has the kids out talking to people about why they’re doing this today.”
The Lots of Socks campaign is being held internationally to show worldwide support for World Down Syndrome Day.
Shillington said it’s a chance for people to be walking, talking billboards who get to interact and talk to people about the day.
“It’s been really exciting and we’re hoping to do it every year,” Shillington said on the show of support from students and staff at Lindale. “This was our first year having such an event, we just wanted to start small to see the reaction — but it’s been overwhelming.”
Shillington said it’s important to always keep dialogue open to remind people they should never feel there isn't a community to talk to. “When you’re first a parent with a child with a disability, you can feel alone and to have support means so much to show you’re never alone."
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