A Wild Childhood with Down’s Syndrome

To celebrate Down’s Syndrome Day we are ever so proud to introduce one magnificent muddy Mum. She’s a superb campaign supporter and brilliant author, meet Caroline White. Her eldest son, Seb has Down’s syndrome, and since his diagnosis Caroline has provided fantastic support for the condition, heavily sharing news and information online. She has built her own online community and is now hugely influential, continually raising awareness for the condition.

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Caroline recently spoke about her little explorer in a Guardian article, sharing 10 amazing things about her son. He’s even a Muddy Puddles model, appearing in our AW15 shoot!

Caroline shared with us what it is Seb loves about the outdoors, his childhood adventures and much more…

“Getting kids outdoors is so important.  It really fires their imaginations, sparks their curiosity as well as getting them in touch with nature and their surroundings. My two boys really love being Woodland Warriors and building dens out of large sticks, as well as playing in mud kitchens! We have been on Bear Hunts and tried spotting Gruffalos in the woods, as well as being knights and having light saber battles.  Being outdoors is a blank canvas for wherever your imagination wants to take you and there is nothing more lovely than going for a walk by the sea, in the woods, or even the park and getting home with flushed cheeks and that healthy feeling of tiredness from breathing in fresh air and running around.

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Muddy Puddles was such a perfect brand for Seb to model for.  When he was born I had wrongly imagined a lifetime of “difference” and exclusion and I couldn’t have been more wrong.  He is a really typical kid, who loves to do the same things as all kids. I noticed a lack of representation in the media and I was so frustrated by it and wanted people to see that children with Down’s syndrome are, well, just kids too.

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Seb is incredibly sporty and I love how active he is.  Being active and outdoors is really important for both physical health and mental well being for all kids and it is something I encourage with all my children – it is also a perfect, inclusive activity where kids can work in teams, building and making and racing and chatting.  Playing outdoors is almost a language all of its own. Seb first experienced Forest School at his pre-school and has been to many woodland style birthday parties.  He has an incredible way of living in the moment and savours every encounter – we have to stop and engage with every dog and dog owner we pass and he loves nature. Seb has a real sense of adventure and is quite a free spirit, even on our short walk to school he will balance along walls, marvel at flowers and race his brother to the school gate!

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I think historically, when children with Down’s syndrome were not included in their communities, were segregated and their interests were not encouraged or nurtured, there was a tendency for people with the condition to become overweight.  It is therefore really important to me to encourage Seb to be as active as possible.  It is true that, as with all people, people with Down’s syndrome have varying abilities and their likes and hobbies are a reflection of their families and upbringings, but I do passionately believe that being outdoors and as active as possible is really important – for all.”