Russian Federation: Vlad Sanotsky

Personal narratives: What's disability to me?
June 2011

Vlad Sanotsky is 29 years old. You might assume that a label of Down syndrome means limitation, but when he talks, you realize how rich life can be.

My name is Vlad. I’m 29 years old, and I live with my mother. We go everywhere together. She doesn’t allow me to go anywhere alone because she is afraid that someone will hurt or offend me. I play in a theatre and I am very good. I also like poetry and I know many poems by heart. I have music classes two times a week. I play the flute.

I am a champion swimmer – I have won many medals. But when I went to pre-school, the teacher told me I was too fast to be in her class. They couldn’t catch me. In school in gym class they wouldn’t let me play football. I mean the teacher and other kids. But I swam in competitions in Belgium, and the US - and won medals. When my mother and I were on vacation, and I was on the beach, other kids ignored me and laughed at me. Nobody wanted to talk to me. But after they saw me swimming, they started to say "hi" and talk to me. Unfortunately, I don’t swim anymore, but I’d love to continue. I also like classical music and ballet.