Timothy Motherway and speech teacher Bethany Kinkaid recently created a...

Timothy Motherway and speech teacher Bethany Kinkaid recently created a viral Tiktok video for World Down Syndrome Day. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

When Timothy Motherway appeared in a video that focused on ending stereotypes about Down syndrome, he never expected it would amass hundreds of thousands of views in just a few months.

Timothy, a seventh-grader at East Rockaway Jr./Sr. High School, collaborated with speech and language therapist Bethany Kinkaid on the 40-second video. As of press time, the clip has amassed more than 567,000 views and 38,000 likes since it was posted to the video-hosting platform TikTok on March 21, World Down Syndrome Day. This year’s theme was #EndTheStereotypes.

“I had seen a few TikToks that were within the premise of the one we created, and I just thought it would be a good way to get the message out there,” said Kinkaid. “It was really just supposed to be for people in our school community, but you just never know what’s going to hit on TikTok.”

Before recording, the pair sat down to discuss the different stereotypes they wanted to address as well as some of Timothy’s unique qualities they wanted to highlight. They then shot the footage using an iPhone during a single 40-minute period, Kinkaid said.

In the video, Timothy can be seen walking through the school’s hallways and classrooms making statements ranging from “I have Down Syndrome. Of course I like to learn” to “I have Down syndrome. Of course I love being positive.”

Said Kinkaid, “It’s not that someone with Down syndrome is necessarily considered to be negative or doesn’t like to learn, but it’s more so that some underestimate anyone with a visible disability and are quick to make assumptions. . . . Timmy has a lot to offer, and he likes a lot of the same things that any child his age enjoys.

“He just wants to be friends with, and communicate with, anyone who wants to have a conversation with him,” she said. “He’s very animated and charismatic.”

Timothy, 13, added, “I wanted people to try to understand that I’m just like you. I can’t explain how happy I am. I love that so many people got to see it.”

In April, the two were honored for their advocacy efforts with Hometown Hero Awards from the East Rockaway School District’s Board of Education.

“We are incredibly proud of both of them for their achievements and for shining a light on such an important issue,” said East Rockaway Schools Superintendent James DeTommaso. “Their video was created to show our school community that students with Down syndrome aspire to be just like every kid. Timothy is an exceptional young man whose story, now reaching a global audience, inspires all students and raises important awareness about Down syndrome.”

Timothy is also a member of his school’s chorus and intramural basketball and bowling teams and is among those who deliver the school’s morning announcements, which are broadcast to each classroom on Smart Boards. In addition, he was among the performers last fall at the high school’s “East Rockaway’s Got Talent” event, where he sang “Monster” from the Broadway musical “Frozen.”

Transgender ban lawsuit . . . Hempstead councilman dies . . . Places for kids to play Credit: Newsday

GOP Veepstakes is over . . . LI's in sticky situation . . . Transgender ban lawsuit . . . Prime Day 

Transgender ban lawsuit . . . Hempstead councilman dies . . . Places for kids to play Credit: Newsday

GOP Veepstakes is over . . . LI's in sticky situation . . . Transgender ban lawsuit . . . Prime Day 

Latest Videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.