This story holds a very special place in my heart as I have known Josie pretty much since she was born. Josie is a little bit older than my daughter Ruby and has Down Syndrome. Imagine our luck when Ruby was born that we found another couple that was going through the same thing we were? And to top it off we think they are pretty cool too!!

The Mcintyres are a pretty special family, I think they are all pretty extraordinary, but today we get to see an interview from a different point of view as Josie's sister Hattie will tell us all about Josie and what it's like to be her sister.

These photographs were taken at Josie's 10th birthday recently, and we were lucky enough to meet her best friend Dhahi (who Josie is clearly very fond of) and to see the beautiful bond they have for each other.

Sit back and enjoy this heart warming and beautiful story told from the point of view of an 8 year old.

1)Tell me a bit about you and your family.

My name’s Hattie, my mum’s Clare, my dad is Rick and my sister’s name is Josie. I’m 8 and Josie is now 10.

I’m half New Zealander and half Welsh, but a little bit more New Zealander. I was born in Dubai and Josie was too. Josie has Down syndrome and is a little bit different to other kids. We have two pets, one is a dog called Dudley and the other is a cat called Socks. Socks is more like a dog because he plays a lot and Dudley is more like a piglet. I have a nana and bampy who live in Wales and a granny and granddad who live in New Zealand. My uncle lives in Abu Dhabi and we meet up to go camping together. I like going to Wales to see my Welsh family and I like going to New Zealand too. Rosemarie also lives with us and is part of our family.
Josie also has an imaginary sister at the moment, she is always asking to go to her sister’s house to play because it’s her sister’s party- which seems to be every day.

2) You wrote a little book about your sister Josie a few years back. Tell me all about it.

I started with the blurb! I wrote ‘If you want to learn about Dancing room then read this book.’ I was five when I wrote the book and I called Down syndrome dancing room. I don’t anymore. The title of the book is My Sister has Dancing Room.

Mummy used the words from a paper book I made and added photos of me and Josie. I took it to school to show my class and I take it every year on World Down Syndrome Day. Josie takes it to her school too.

3) What is your most memorable moment with Josie.

Well she calls me Nutball every day!

The most memorable moment with Josie is when she got lost in the Mall of the Emirates. She was missing for two hours and when the security eventually found her she was pushing a trolley in Carrefour and filling it with bread, jam and chocolate biscuits. Luckily she didn’t find the chocolate aisle. We were all very worried about her but Josie wasn’t worried at all. In school I wrote about my weekend in my news book and I wrote 3 whole pages about what happened. Miss Lee, my teacher gave me a certificate in assembly for writing such an exciting story.

4) If Josie had a superpower, what would it be? What would YOURS be?

My mum says Josie has an inbuilt chocolate detector! I think Josie would like to be invisible so she could sneak into the kitchen without anyone noticing. She would still have to practise sneaking quietly as she not very good at sneaking quietly. My superpower would be to be a wifi queen. This power would mean I would have wifi where ever I go.

5) What is Josie's biggest challenge in her life? What is her biggest gift?

Josie’s biggest challenge is for her to speak. Josie talks a lot but it’s hard to understand what she is saying. She goes to talking class every week. She also finds it harder to learn to read and write but she can read and she can write now. Sometimes she tries her very best but other times she doesn’t try at all. She is good in school most of the time but last week she had to go to see Mrs Kivi because she was drawing on Miss Sophie’s jeans. When she does things a little naughty I find it funny.

Josie can’t ride a bike but we are planning on getting her one for her 10th birthday. We will need to get the bike changed so that
she can ride it. It will be good when she can ride. We can bike together.

Josie’s biggest gift is that she laughs a lot and makes other people laugh. She always brings fun into our house. For example, she eats a banana and then puts the skin on the floor for us to fall over. We all pretend to fall over. Another one of her tricks is that she takes your chair away if you leave the table to get a glass of water. When you get back to the table you have to pretend not to know the chair isn’t there and sit down, and fall on the floor.

6) If you could teach the world just one thing about Down Syndrome, what would it be?

Watch out for banana skins!

Josie has Down syndrome and can do most things other kids can do. She can run fast, she can swim, she loves to dance, she sings One Direction, she likes dressing up, she likes doing shows, she likes playing tag, she likes cooking, she loves eating pizzas, she likes going to school, she loves PE, she likes parties, she likes playing with her friends, she likes sleepovers (at her house), she loves her pets, she likes going to the park, she likes going to the movies, she likes going to waterparks, she loves watching Scooby Doo, she loves playing Minecraft with me and she can beat Mum and Dad on Subway Surfer.

7)Do you think Josie has more adult time, more time with mum and dad than you?

Josie has a lot of time with adults, like her speech and language therapist, her learning support worker in school – Miss Sophie/Miss Siobhan, and she has more time with Rosemarie, Josie calls her Aiya, who is our nanny. My mum’s new job means she has more time with us but my dad’s new company means he has less. I think I have some extra time with my dad though as he takes me to school every day. I think Josie would like to work with my dad when she grows up. She loves wearing her Mac Pack shirt, and sometimes dad takes her to the job, so I suppose she’ll spend more time with him then.

8)Tell me about your friends.

We both have friends from our different schools but we have some friends from out of school who we both like to play with. Sometimes I play with one kid from the family and Josie plays with the other or we all play together.

One of Josie’s best friends in school is Dhahi, he has Down syndrome too. Sometimes Josie has playdates with her friends from school at our house. I have playdates with my friends from school too. Sometimes me and Josie play together and sometimes we don’t. I like to play on my ipad and sometimes I like to do arty things. Josie likes to play on her ipad too but her favourite game is dressing up and packing her bags like she is going to work or going on holiday or going to Nana’s house.

Hugo is Josie’s best friend out of school and they have lots of fun together – normally dressing up as police officers and arresting people. We both like friends to come to our house and we also like going to our friends’ houses too.

Thank you Hattie, your answers are honest and some made me giggle. You are one extraordinary sister!