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Hispanic Heritage Month – Spotlight on Down Syndrome

September is Hispanic Heritage Month and we want to shine a spotlight on three inspiring people with Down Syndrome. They encourage us to challenge and help those with a disability to strive for their dreams. To provide opportunities for growth and never give up.

Isabella Springmuhl Tejada is from Guatemala. She is also the first fashion designer who has down syndrome. Not only has her work been showcased in London, Rome, and Mexico, she was also voted one of the BBC 100 Women in 2016.

After being turned down by a local university, Isabella began educating herself with the support of her family. She designs garments that specifically appeal to others who have the physical characteristics of Down Syndrome but anyone can wear her clothing. She also pulls from a rich heritage of Guatemalan handicraft with bright woven textures.

“I wish that every garment I so lovingly work on warms the dreams of other youngsters who have different abilities … we can do it!”

Shop her collection

Pablo Pineda is an award winning Spanish actor. He also holds a diploma in teaching and a BA in educational psychology making him the first student in Europe with Down Syndrome to be granted a university degree. He enjoys teaching and giving lectures during conferences. He has been a TV host and is also a published author. He is currently working with Adecco Foundation to develop an integration program for social inclusion.

“I always tell parents not to pay attention to the fact that I’ve been in a movie, and have a career. That is not important. What’s important is that you can do it, and your parents have to teach you, and encourage you. After that, you can do anything.”

Find his movie Yo Tambien

Cristina Sanz made a name for herself on the show Born this Way. It is an unstructured reality series that won Emmys in 2016 and 2017 and has nominations for 2018 and 2019. Not only was this impressive feat made extra special by being the first to have a cast that includes people with disabilities but also for having a multi-cultural cast. Cristina's family is originally from Spain and she enjoyed visiting family there in the summers while growing up. In addition to winning an Emmy, Cristina has also moved out of her parent’s house, works two jobs, continues to star in Born this Way, enjoys Latin and ballroom dancing, and is now married to Angel Callahan.

When asked on the 2016 Emmy red carpet what inspired her to do the show she responded,

“It’s about support for the children, they watch us and see us having fun and having a great time.”

Watch Christina and her friends on A&E's Born This Way



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