The mother of twins with Down syndrome wants to tackle stereotypes after ‘compassionate reaction’ to the diagnosis
Identical twins with Down syndrome have played a leading role in a heart-warming film in which the pair gain work experience to help them figure out what they want to be as they grow up.
Elaine Scougal, from Dundee, created a social media page for her twin Ollie and Cameron, six, when they were newborn, after constantly receiving “compassionate responses” to her children’s diagnosis.
Now the couple has more than 200,000 followers Facebook, and Elaine uses their popularity to address outdated prejudices that people with Down syndrome don’t have the “competence or ability” to work.
The brothers play the lead role in a film for the WorkFit program of the Down’s Syndrome Association, in which they help with payments in the supermarket, in the hairdressers and at a fire station.
Twins Ollie and Cameron (photo), six, who have Down syndrome, are internet sensations and have more than 200,000 followers on Facebook
Elaine Scougal (photo), from Dundee, created a social media page for her twins after she had constantly received “compassionate responses” to her children’s diagnosis
The brothers played in a film for the Down’s Syndrome Association for their WorkFit work program. They are shown when making the video
Mother Elaine of the twins said: ‘After hearing a few stereotypical views and compassionate responses to the diagnosis of Cam and Ollie after birth, we decided that we wanted to spread the word that our children were children, not determined by their chromosome numbers .
‘We have set up the Facebook page and it started so quickly. I think that due to identical twins with Down’s syndrome is quite rare, with a rate of about one or two in a million births.
‘We documented their journey on the page as they grew from three weeks old to almost seven years old now with videos, photos and stories.
“We get regular reports that the page has opened their eyes about Down’s syndrome with regard to refuting stereotypes that they may have had.”
The film for WorkFit shows that people with the condition are more than capable of being used. They are depicted while working in a local cafe
The mother argued that it is just a matter of finding specific jobs that suit individuals and the twins tested working in a local cafe
More than anything, Elaine wants to tackle obsolete prejudices that people with Down’s syndrome do not have the ‘competence or ability’ to work.
The mother argued that it is simply a matter of finding specific jobs that suit individuals, and evaluating how their needs can be met within each work context.
“I think there are many outdated perceptions about Down’s syndrome, and learning disabilities in general are a barrier to people looking for a job,” Elaine said.
“There is an assumption by many that people with Down syndrome do not have the competence or ability to work and that a voluntary role is more appropriate.
‘It’s about creating the ethos to see every employee as an individual, not as a condition or disability, and to evaluate how his individual needs can be met within each work context.
Elaine wants to tackle outdated prejudices that people with Down syndrome do not have the ‘competence or ability’ to work. They are shown to test a job in a supermarket
Ollie and Cameron are shown helping a hairdresser to wash the hair of one of her clients in the video
“That requires an open mind, but I believe that slowly more people are opening up to hiring people with disabilities and coordinating training to meet needs.”
The video shows the boys who test jobs at the fire brigade, a cafe, hairdressers and supermarket and interviews the elderly with the condition, who are currently working in jobs such as receptionist, in a restaurant kitchen and in the drying room of a hospital.
“I think a job like Ollie and Cameron are mature would really let them live in a way analogous to their regular peers,” said Elaine.
‘To be able to buy their own food and save for the treat they want, without always having to depend on mum and dad.
‘To be able to, as we all want, if we want something to get it. And to do that, you have to get a job that pays your wages. ”
Elaine said that employment Ollie and Cameron would have a life similar to that of their regular peers. They are depicted with local firefighters while trying out a job at the station
The film wants to promote a ‘presumption of work’. The pair is shown to test a job at a local fire station
The film aims to promote a ‘presumption of work’, in which children with Down syndrome grow up expecting to have a job and being told about what they might want to do at an early age.
“They can then include their career goals in their education and when they are ready to switch to work, come to WorkFit with ideas about what they would like to do,” said WorkFit, employment and development manager Alison Thwaite.
“We also hope that the film encourages more potential employers to consider registering with WorkFit.
“All our support is free and without obligation and continues as long as the person with Down’s syndrome is employed.”
What are the chances of having twins with Down syndrome?
Having identical twins with Down syndrome is incredibly rare, with previous research suggesting that it only occurs in one in a million births.
When it comes to twin births, two in every 1,000 are born where one or both babies have Down syndrome.
The study, conducted in 2016, showed that six percent of these are identical twins, while the remaining 94 percent are non-identical.
Two percent of babies with Down syndrome in the UK are twins.
The condition occurs when there are three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two.