I was talking with someone today who had no idea what Down Syndrome was–they asked if there was a cure available.
Growing up in the 1960s, I never had much interaction with Down Syndrome children. In fact, the first time I saw a DS child someone pointed out that there was a “Mongoloid” in the area. I asked if they were from Mongolia and the response was no they just looked like they were. Have beliefs changed in 50 years?
Down Syndrome children are now called “challenged” and they are supported from birth by various therapists. They can be mainstreamed in school and they can have careers.
When I was growing up most DS children were institutionalized–not seen, not heard.
Is acceptance truly present today? Will my grandchild be accepted throughout his life? Will he have friends who all look like him or will he keep the ones he has now? Will his family continue to love and support him when he is in his 3os?, 40s?, 50s? Will he be able to be in his own age group’s Sunday School? Will he be asked to be in a play or sing in a choir for a holiday event? Will he go to the prom or play on a team?
I am glad that the term “mongoloid” has gone the same route as “retarded”. I am glad my grandson is challenged. Right now from my perspective, his challenges are more physical than mental. Right now from my perspective, I hold all the hope a grandmother can carry that her grandchild will be accepted and loved even when he has grown out of the cute stage. Right now from my perspective, he will always be incredibly adorable.
- Marty at 18 months