The Canadian Down Syndrome Society debuts film, Picture the Possibilities

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Monday, 13 July 2015

Eleven exceptional adults with Down syndrome want Canadians to see the ability, celebrate diversity, and Picture the Possibilities. They are featured in a ten-minute documentary, titled ‘Picture the Possibilities’ now available to view at www.cdss.ca or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/cdndownsyndrome.

These adults form a group called VATTA (Voices At The Table for Advocacy), the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s steering committee. Earlier this year, VATTA travelled from across the country to Toronto to discuss their lives, their aspirations, and their vision for Canada. Picture the Possibilities is the result of their trip.

VATTA’s work and direction helps guide CDSS’s efforts and keeps issues most important to the Down syndrome community at a forefront. They are a unique group who have inspired other adults with Down syndrome around the world to form their own self-advocacy initiatives.

Highlights from the film include profiles on the following VATTA members:

  • Jessie Huggett, a dance instructor and performer from Ottawa, Ontario: “I want to educate people and let them know that People with Down syndrome are people first and they need to be treated as equals.”
  • Andreas Prinz, an actor from Toronto, Ontario: “I have Down syndrome, and I am proud to have Down syndrome!”
  • Brandon Thielen, a business owner from Lethbridge, Alberta: “We are unique and we are just like people like you. I am proud of who I am now.”

Three short films titled 'See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot' have been previously released. They featured Janet Charchuk, Will Brewer, and Alana Gersky. Those can be viewed on CDSS's YouTube channel.

Janet Charchuk in 'See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot.'

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Monday, 06 July 2015

“My ability is that I’m able to speak up for people who cannot speak up for themselves and to be an advocate to be able to help others.”

PEI’s Janet Charchuk is known across Canada and the world as a leader in the Down syndrome community. She would like to share her message of inclusivity in the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s (CDSS) newest video series See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot. It is now available to view at www.cdss.ca.

She wants Canadians and people all over the world to ‘See the Ability’.

Janet’s accolades extend around the world. In 2013, Janet represented Canada at the United Nations for World Down Syndrome Day and met with Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Canada's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

In 2014, she was awarded Down Syndrome International’s self-advocate World Down Syndrome Day award. This year, she was the Keynote Speaker at Down Syndrome Family Network in Trinidad and Tobago, where she also met with Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

This past May, Janet completed her ten-year term as a member of VATTA (Voices at the Table for Advocacy), CDSS’s steering committee. We're honoured to have her be such a major part of Canada’s Down syndrome community, and look forward to continuing to work with her on important issues.

Janet's ‘See the Ability’ video is the final of three, with a fourth ten-minute documentary on VATTA titled Picture the Possibilities to be released on July 13, 2015.

#SeeTheAbilitySunday

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Thursday, 02 July 2015

See The Ability Sunday

Hey Canada! We love sharing positive and uplifting messages with the Down syndrome community. What better way to get inspired than hearing from those who have had similar experiences as you? Our new #SeeTheAbilitySunday social media campaign is the perfect way to do this. We want you to participate!

Please send your responses to any of the following questions in ONE sentence to , along with a photo of yourself if you wish to have that included in your dedicated post. Looking forward to hearing from you!

For Self-Advocates:

1. What advice do you have for other people with Down syndrome?

2. What is the best advice you have received for reaching your own goals?

3. What do you want the world to know about people with Down syndrome?

For Parents:

4. What has your child with Down syndrome taught you?

5. What advice do you have for new parents of a child with Down syndrome?

For Professionals:

6. What is the best advice you have received for reaching your own goals?

Will Brewer in 'See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot.'

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Monday, 29 June 2015

Halifax’s Will Brewer is an exceptional Canadian. He volunteers in his community, he is part of an art collective, and he is an aspiring professional photographer. He also has Down syndrome - but it’s just a small part of who he is.

“A couple years ago, I was being interviewed, and they asked me what my disability was and I said, ‘I don’t have one - I’m Will.’”

Will is featured in the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s (CDSS) newest video series See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot, now available to view at www.cdss.ca. As an adult with Down syndrome, Will has devoted his life to raising awareness about issues important to adults with disabilities.

He wants Canadians and people all over the world to ‘See the Ability’.

Will aspires to one day be a politician and was recently honoured with a Mel Hebb Encore Award by Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia (PAANS).

As a member of VATTA (Voices at the Table for Advocacy), CDSS’s steering committee, Will represents self-advocates (adults with Down syndrome) on the international stage. He contributes to the VATTA self-advocacy blog (cdss.ca/vatta/), speaks at national conferences, and represents CDSS at various events in Halifax.

Will’s ‘See the Ability’ video is the second of a series of three, with a fourth ten-minute documentary on VATTA titled Picture the Possibilities to be released on July 13, 2015.

Alana in 'See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot.'

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Monday, 22 June 2015

“People who have Down syndrome can achieve the impossible.”

Have you seen this video, featuring Alana from Edmonton? We'll be releasing two more short videos in the coming weeks and the full-length VATTA video, titled "Picture the Possibilities", on July 13!

Until then, watch Alana in 'See the Ability: If you listen, you can see a lot.'

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