I want to talk about Down syndrome.
Specifically, I want to talk to you about how to talk about Down syndrome.
I’ll start with a confession. In my previous life, people with disabilities made me a little uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to say, how to act. I didn’t realize I was making it all about me. But I forgive myself. And I forgive you too. It can be uncomfortable. And well meaning people, in their attempts to be cool, accepting, inclusive, can say things that are actually tiny blows to those of us on the other side.
Things you might be tempted to say that make things awkward and uncomfortable…
“How high functioning is he?”
“Is he going to have to live with your forever?”
“Did you know?”
“I *thought* there was something wrong with him”
Because what I think is…
“Yes, but let’s get to know each other better before you ask me personal questions”
“What is wrong with *you*?”
Ok, so then, what should you say?
Well, how about…
“His eyes are amazing”
“He’s got an infectious laugh”
“There’s a kid with Ds in my son’s class, do you know so-and-so?”
“I know/love someone with Ds”
And leave off with the personal questions; but rest assured, if you get to know me, I’ll probably bore you to death with personal information in no time.