AN IRVINE girl has been plucked from hundreds of youngsters to be the UK Ambassador for an international Down’s syndrome charity.

Five-year-old Chloe Lennon from Castlepark has been chosen from more than 700 hopefuls to be the UK’s face of Nothing Down – an American-based charity raising awareness of Down’s syndrome.

Chloe’s mum Jade says she is hoping her daughter being the face of the charity – whose motto is ‘Nothing Down about Down’s syndrome – will go a long way to changing people’s “outdated attitudes” to people with Down’s syndrome.

Jade, 25, told the Times: “Chloe was chosen from over 700 other people to be the UK Ambassador for Nothing Down. They are an American based charity but I think they are wanting to extend their reach so they chose Chloe. I am so proud of her. She is amazing.”

But Jade says there is still a lot of work to be done to change how people view Down’s syndrome.

She said: “I can’t go into town without someone making a comment or people staring or giving me a sympathetic glance as if they feel bad for me because there is something ‘wrong’ with Chloe. It used to really get to me but now I deal with it better.

“I used to come away really angry, but now I just think if someone makes a comment I would rather educate them and come away feeling like they know something different after speaking to me.

“Just this week I was in town getting some last minute things for Chloe’s birthday and a woman in a shop said “there’s something wrong with her, she’s a bit slow.” Comments like that just really aren’t acceptable. People need to change their attitudes, but if we don’t raise awareness, how will they know?

“And it’s not just negative discrimination, there’s positive discrimination too, which is harder to combat, because I know that people mean well and aren’t trying to be nasty.

“Unfortunately, stereotypes are still what people think of and they’ll say things like ‘all Down’s syndrome kids are always happy’ which isn’t true. They have moods like anyone else.

“Or people will say Down’s syndrome kids don’t learn as quickly, or their speech isn’t as good. But that’s just not the case. All kids, whether they have Down’s syndrome or not, do things at different stages.

“Chloe is like every other five-year-old, she goes to dancing, she is starting mainstream school this year, she is funny, she is just like every other child.

“I would just love it, if one day people saw Chloe as Chloe and not a label, not a child with Down’s syndrome or anything other than who she is. That is true inclusion.”

Nothing Down pride themselves on being “the the most compassionate and innovative Down’s syndrome awareness organization there is. Nothing Down is embarking on a mission to show the world that there is nothing down about Down’s syndrome. Our goal is to educate parents, future parents, and the world about Down’s syndrome.”

On Chloe they say: “In a nutshell? Chloe is intelligent, capable, stubborn, determined, beautiful, funny, with just a little (well, a big) dash of diva thrown in too.

“She surprises everyone she meets, and is unintentionally changing stereotypes and perceptions of Down’s syndrome, one fabulous day at a time.”