I love Twitter. I have found a whole community of wonderful people all going through the same joys and heartaches of raising children with special needs. From ASD to Down Syndrome, I talk to so many who have given me so much advice and insight. The hard part was finding these people by searching. It wasn’t so bad searching ASD but when you try to search Down Syndrome you are bombarded by jokes! “I am so stupid I must have DS”, “So-and-so looks like he has DS”. Some of these ignorant people post horrible articles about finding out if your child is disabled so you can “get rid” of it! I even saw an article about a doctor who thinks it is ok to kill newborns with DS! What is with these people?
Yes, having a child with SN changes your life completely but the people I talk to have the strength and patience to do what needs to be done for their children. They have come to the realization that our lives will always be different than those whose children are “normal”. I hate using that word. Everyone has tough times with their children but because they don’t have to deal with ignorance and misinformation it seems these “tough times” aren’t so tough after all.
Down Syndrome is not a punchline. It is not a joke. Many, many people with DS live independent lives! They have jobs, they go out with friends, they use computers. They can do everything anyone else can do, it just takes them a little longer to learn how!
When I was in school they had a special class for SN kids. Some other kids would make fun of them, but there were even more kids who talked and played with them. I remember watching the show “Life Goes On” about a family with a teen with DS. Chris Burke played Corky and it showed a lot of what the family had to do to get him to understand certain things. One of my favourite shows is Glee. They have a teenage girl with DS who was taken under the wing of the coach and was made a cheerleader. Becky is played by Lauren Potter. In 2008 a Missouri teen with DS was named HomeComing Queen. She had a 90% chance of being aborted.
These stories don’t happen all the time, but they do happen. Give people with DS, or any other disability a chance and they may surprise you!