DCSIMG

Colne mum and teacher raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome

Reception teacher and deputy head Joanne Edwards with Olivia Wilkinson (5) and her mum Tracy who is enjoying life at Sacred Heart Primary School.

Reception teacher and deputy head Joanne Edwards with Olivia Wilkinson (5) and her mum Tracy who is enjoying life at Sacred Heart Primary School.

A loving Colne mum is exclusively speaking out about her “miracle baby” in a bid to quash stereotypes about a genetic condition.

Today is World Down’s Syndrome Day, and to mark the occasion Tracy Wilkinson has shared the story of her beautiful little girl Olivia (5).

While the teaching assistant admits that it is “not all roses” and that Olivia can take longer to reach her milestones, she is keen to stress that she is just as funny, cheeky and mischievous as any other child her age.

Mrs Wilkinson (42), of Skipton Old Road, said: “Olivia was an IVF baby. I did have a complicated pregnancy and I did get told that she could have a form of trisomy, but I didn’t have any tests as I was just so happy to be finally pregnant.

“We knew the second she was born that she had Down’s Syndrome, and it was a shock, and I suppose it does take a little while to get your head around.

“But life is a blast with Olivia - there is no malice in her, and she has this enthusiasm and zest for life. We always say it is Olivia first, and Down’s Syndrome second.”

According to Mrs Wilkinson 94% of people who receive a prenatal Down’s Syndrome diagnosis have their babies aborted.

She puts this down to the fact the condition can be treated as all “doom and gloom”, and wants to erase the stigma that can be attached to it by highlighting the joy she, her husband Nick, her son Lewis (16), and other family and friends get every day from the former Lakeview Nursery pupil.

The mum, who shares her daughter’s love of dancing and music, added: “There can be an ignorance, and it can be upsetting, but just because Olivia has DS it does not mean she is not worthy of having the same opportunities as other people. We just love her for who she is.”

Mrs Wilkinson would also like to thank Sacred Heart Primary School for the endless support they give Olivia, helping her to work independently and teaching other children makaton, a form of sign language.

Reception teacher and deputy headteacher at the Red Lane school Joanne Edwards, who is helping Mrs Wilkinson in her awareness drive, said: “If you are having a bad day you only have to look at Olivia. She has made bonds like any other child, and is an absolute joy to teach.”

 

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