Accepted. Living with Down-Syndrom

To what extent can you reduce prejudices?

How the book started.

Twenty years ago in France I entered the dining hall of a youth hostel where a large group of handicapped youngsters was spending their holiday. I suddenly found myself surrounded by them, was completely shocked and was quick to leave the room again.
A year ago I was asked by the Carinthian self-help group of parents of children with Down Syndrom to provide the photos for this book and in doing so I hit a wide range of prejudices. Many of the people I told about this project felt sorry for me for choosing such a depressing topic. They themselves didn’t know any children with Down Syndrom, their views were based on prejudices.
I have never worked on a topic that was so full of love.
I could watch, accompany and photograph 43 children and adolescents. At the beginning they were all very wary and reserved, but later they were just as open, cheerful and grumpy, loud and subdued, charming, embarrassed and self-confident as children and young adults are.
I think for the parents of these children it is even more important to face life in a calm and self-confident way, because the confrontation with themselves and society is much more demanding. Not only the parents, we as well have to learn to accept those children the way they are.
Basically it’s up to us all to create a good quality of life for everybody.
The book does not ask the question, “What would I do?” and no distant ”How can the parents cope with this?” It is intended to offer a simple and direct view: “This is the way it is.” And it’s part of our lives.
My vision for the children of today and tomorrow is a world in which people with disabilities are integrated into society so that they will never leave a dining hall in shock as I did years ago. They should rather be able to sit down at the same table with those people.