Doctors Said She’d Never Achieve Anything, But This Teen With Down Syndrome REALLY Wasn’t Listening.
So often, the world of self-acceptance only focuses on body type. And it is absolutely wonderful to support of all bodies being worthy of value and love, body positivity and self-love extend well beyond the number on the inside of your clothing. Acknowledging that everyone has the right to feel beautiful really means everyone, regardless of race, age, ability, or orientation.
Madeline Stuart is here to remind us of that.
Stuart is eighteen years old. In her free time, she dances, plays sports, and loves performing in front of an audience, and is an aspiring young model. Stuart also has Down's syndrome. Though hers isn't a face that you can easily imagine on a cover of a magazine, that doesn't mean that she's any less capable. In fact, these are the stereotypes that she's hoping to change. In an interview, Stuart said that she hopes her modeling will "help change society's view of people with Down Syndrome," and that "exposure helps create acceptance."
Wise words from such a young woman.
On the left is a picture of Madeline, who goes by Maddy, as a girl. On the right, a photo of her all grown up and ready to take on the world.
Her mother, Roseanne, thinks back on Maddy's early years and remembers how much of a struggle it was.“Things were a lot different 18 years ago," she said. " I remember having her in a [stroller] when she was a baby and small-minded people telling me she should not be out in public.”
“Her doctors told me she would never achieve anything,” Roseanne said. “But things are changing every day and people are more accepting of what they don’t understand yet.”
After she decided that she wanted to start modeling, Maddy's confidence soared.
She started Facebook and Instagram pages earlier this month, and her following has already grown to over 100,000 people.
Overall, the response to Maddy's mission and budding career has been overwhelmingly positive.
Maddy and her mother both hope that when people see pictures of Maddy, they'll keep an open and accepting mind.
This young woman's journey is proof that despite your perceived "challenges" or "shortcomings," you can do and be whoever you want to be.
Next, here's powerful photographs that capture the wonder and beauty of Down Syndrome.