Barnet dad gives candid insight into life with son with Down's Syndrome

By Dave Speck in Local People

A FATHER and son from Friern Barnet are helping to promote Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week taking place this week.

Steve Palmer has written a book about family life with his son Stan, 15, who has Down’s Syndrome, and also writes a blog about it.

Now the pair are helping raise awareness on behalf of national charity The Down’s Syndrome Association. (DSA).

Steve said: “When Stan was born we had a very common experience to other parents who find out on the day that their child has Down’s syndrome. It was a big shock and we spent the first 24 hours in disbelief. It really does depend on how good or bad the medical staff are when they relay the news to you. We had one nurse who sat on the edge of our bed crying, which was highly inappropriate.”

Fifteen years later Steve says his expectation levels "are so much higher." Stan, who attends Oaktree special school, in Southgate, is said to be “thriving” and is busy most nights of the week with activities including cheerleading, horse riding and swimming.

Steve added: "Stan is incredibly sensitive to people’s feelings. He knows when someone is upset and he can show a level of emotional intelligence that a lot of other teenagers, older than him, wouldn’t even show. Fifteen years on, we couldn’t imagine life without Stan. If you have a child with Down’s syndrome, you can have a normal family life as possible. It’s going to be different but it’s worth it.”

Steve’s book is called “Down’s with the kids: The life and times of Stanley Matthew Palmer." His blog is at

Support, information and advice is available from the Down’s Syndrome Association at or by calling the DSA Helpline on 0333 1212 300.

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