Katie Carpenter, Book Club Leader and Beyond Words Co-author (Going to Church), was invited to speak at this year's World Down's Syndrome Congress in Glasgow. Here, Katie tells us all about it!
Who was at the conference?
There were lots of people with Down’s syndrome, as well as doctors, teachers and therapists. Lots of parents and families too. They came from all over the world. I met people with Down’s syndrome from New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada, Albania, Spain, Germany Sweden, Iraq, Dubai, Indonesia and Nigeria!
What did you do at the conference?
I talked about being an author and creating the Beyond Words book “Going to Church”. I made a PowerPoint called ‘Book Clubs for Emotional Well Being’ which I showed people. It had pictures of the book club at my home, at Swiss Cottage school where I have done training, and at Chadsgrove School where I work as a Book Club Leader.
How did you feel about being there?
I was very happy. I had never been with so many people who look like me and liked the same things as me!
We did some activities together like ‘Speaking up for yourself’, and an exercise class.
I listened to some lectures, and it made me think about being a person with Down’s syndrome. Some people with Down’s syndrome gave talks on the big stage. Adam Sloan was a man with Down’s syndrome who has become a choreographer, and he showed us a dance video. Sarah Merrimann talked about getting work, and the TV series she had been in with Michel Roux Jnr. She now works as a waitress in a London hotel.
Giving my talk made me feel confident, and I was proud to be able to share my work with Books Beyond Words.
What did you enjoy most?
I liked talking to other people like me. I liked listening to talks about what other people with Down’s syndrome had done with their lives.
There was a ball on the last night, and I wore a long dress. We had great fun.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell people?
The venue in the SEC Glasgow was really big. We had a welcome reception with the Mayor in the Science Museum, where we were able to interact with the science equipment.
I had never been to an event with so many people.
I was really proud of all the stories of what people with Down’s syndrome had done with their lives; it was a very happy conference, and I learnt it was OK to speak up for myself.
There is information on the website about the conference: www.wdsc2018.org.uk
The next Conference is in Dubai. I wonder if I can go there?