Want to have a happy weekend?

Take a few minutes to meet Albuquerque restaurant owner Tim Harris who offers hugs with breakfast and lunch. Tim is awesome – view all the videos on his website, they are quite happy-making, even if you aren’t close enough and lucky enough to get an in-person hug.

Tim is one of many people changing perceptions of people with Down syndrome. Now meet Karen Gaffney, who holds a two-year Associate of Science degree from Portland Community College and an honorary PhD from the University of Portland. She is president of a nonprofit organization “dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.” She’s also a world-class swimmer. Here’s a video clip of her offering a really inspirational TED presentation.

These clips are inspiring. They’re worth sharing with your employees to help break down false barriers we have about people and their limitations. They are also particularly inspirational for any families who have a member with Down syndrome. According to NDSS, “Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, or approximately 6,000 births per year. Today, there are more than 400,000 people with Down syndrome living in the United States.” It’s important for families to know that life with Down syndrome is full of possibilities.

What employer wouldn’t be thrilled and lucky to have stellar employees as awesome as Tim and Karen? Learn more in this March 2014 McKinsey & Company report: The value that employees with Down Syndrome can add to organizations (PDF).

We’re reminded of another remarkable champion who encourages employers to think differently when it comes to hiring workers – the celebrated Temple Grandin, who has led a remarkable life, and who challenges employers to expand their thinking when it comes to people with autism in another TED talk.

Employer resources: Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities

5 Reasons Your Business Should Hire Someone With An Intellectual Disability

SHRM: Hiring People with Intellectual Disabilities

What can YOU do? – The Campaign for Disability Employment

Employer Resources

Don’t be afraid to hire people with disabilities

Facts about Down syndrome

Myths & Truths about Down syndrome

Karen Gaffney Foundation


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