It seems the past decade has brought all kinds of “different” people to our attention via reality shows. Whether showcasing the lives of little people, parents with octuplets, or transgender teens, we seem to be fascinated with the struggles and triumphs of those who are born with what have generally been seen as handicaps in the past.
But some of these shows are now presenting these challenges as not drawbacks, but rather just a different set of obstacles to overcome, no better or worse than the ones we all face.
One recent show of this genre is A & E’s “Born This Way,” which follows the lives of seven 20-somethings grappling with life. All of them were born with Down syndrome, where instead of the usual 23 pairs of chromosomes with which most of us enter the world, they instead have an extra chromosome which in turn alters development and impacts physical appearance.
Down syndrome is more common than you think: one out of every 691 American babies is born with it, and there are about 400,000 US adults with Down syndrome at this time.
Yet despite being the most common of uncommon disorders, Down syndrome can stir fear and confusion among those who don’t understand what it is. Bullying can also be a problem, of course.
But none of those problems seem to trouble seven-year-old Sofia Sanchez, a Russian-born adoptee who has the grace and self-confidence of one many years her senior. An exceptionally pretty and charming child, Sofia has her own modeling website that bears the tag line “Changing the Face of Beauty.”
In a recent video made with her mom for Inside Edition, Sofia handles being interviewed with a grace that our presidential candidates could only dream of. She reminds us that having Down syndrome is “not scary, it’s exciting!” Which is a viewpoint we could all adopt for life itself.
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