I was asked on radio recently whether I think people with Ds get a bad rap. OF COURSE they DO!!! When a woman is pregnant, do you hear them say: "It's now time for your ultrasound to see if your baby has Fragile X syndrome, Williams syndrome or anything else for that matter"? No, everyone who has had a baby in the past 20+years knows they have the ultrasound to test for ...DOWN SYNDROME!!!!
The medical profession treat Ds like a plague....something that needs to be eradicated & as soon as possible!!! They counsel towards abortion & use words like: "He'll never walk, you will need to look after her for the rest of your life , he will have the capacity of a six year old, she will never toilet train, he will always be sick, she will never work, he will never marry or have a girlfriend or any friends for that matter, she will not have a happy life, because the world will pick on her".
They make rational people do irrational actions that are irreversible, based on fear and negative potential.
Now when we start aborting on potential, we will have very few people left in this world! I, for example, am the child of an alcoholic, so I have a higher potential of becoming one myself...are we next????
What the professionals fail to mention is that only 53% of people born with Ds have heart problems & only a very small percentage of these have severe heart problems.
Many people with Ds are perfectly healthy individuals. Most can walk, eat independently, go to the toilet, and do most things everyone else can.
Yes, they do need to be taught more and we need to break down the teaching steps BUT most people with Ds are waaaay more capable then most people give them credit for!!!
"Society tends to really underestimate people with Ds, & therefore don't bother giving them a fair go!"
Now I want to give some examples of people with Ds who are just oozing with ABILITY.
THIS IS THE ABILITY TO BE THE VERY BEST PERSON YOU POSSIBILITY CAN BE, in-spite your limitations. And yes, I am very aware people with Ds have IQ limitations, but boy, they just find other ways to achieve!!!
Lets start with Chloe: She has been flying independently since she was 15yo. Has even flown from London to Edinburgh on her own. She is an amazing artist & is sells her crafts. She waitresses at a Soup kitchen every fortnight. She figured out & taught me how to call her sister on facebook. Does all her own house cleaning, cooking and gets herself off to wherever every day. She has a black belt in Martial Arts & is a helper teacher, she is also a very competent public speaker. She did her Dads eulogy when he died & didn't want any one up there with her.
A few of the experiences Chloe has had in her life are:
Hot Air Ballooning, learning to sail, feeding the dolphins at Monkey Mia WA, cruising on many boats, skiing, jet-skiing,
International bus tour, chocolate making course,the London Eye, The Lourve, The Vatican, Vienna & gondola riding, motor bike riding (she LOVES speed), many, many camps, zoos, dining out, exploring most places, road trips, going to day spas, going to live musicals & concerts, going to the Aust Open tennis, AFL footie matches...the list goes on.
She has 2 friends who both speak more then 1 language (one speaks 4 & is an actress!), Another friend has traveled to South Africa & around Australia with his dance group. Some-one else is actually a dance teacher. Another friends parents went OS for 1 month & he stayed home alone, then flew from Australia to meet them in USA.
The we have the young lad in USA who owns his own restaurant, many people who are respected actors, people who have completed year 12 studies & gotten degrees at Uni, people who drive cars, many very successful artists.
Chloe & her friends have absolutely no intention of living at home - or in a group institution. They all intend to live where they want to live & with who they want to live with & get married, if they want to.
OK, so families & carers do need to put more time into teaching them skills to achieve these goals, but most of them are keen & willing learners!
I need to say, Chloe is not the exception when it comes to people with Ds, she is very much the same as her friends. It's just all her friends, parents & me, have pushed our kids to become exceptional humans in their own right!
A LIFE SENTENCE...NEVER......AN AMAZING LIFE, WITH AMAZING EXPERIENCES...ABSOLUTELY!!!