Thursday, October 18, 2012

Down's Kid

Let me just get this out of the way by saying, Sophia is not a Down's kid.  She is a kid who has Down syndrome.  People with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first.  Sophia is Sophia first and foremost.  Yes, Sophia has Down syndrome too, but it doesn't define who she is as a person, it's just a part of who she is, just like her blue eyes and her blond hair.

Down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease.  There is no cure for Down syndrome.  You can't catch Down syndrome for someone else.  You don't get Down syndrome because of something that your parents did at conception or during pregnancy.  People with Down syndrome do not "suffer" from it and are not "afflicted" by it.  They just simply "have it." 

The word Down syndrome comes from the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it.  While Down syndrome is listed in many dictionaries with both spellings, Down's and Down, the preferred usage in the United States is Down syndrome.  This is because an "apostrophe s" connotes ownership or possession and Mr. Down did not possess this conditon himself.

Just because you know a child with Down syndrome, doesn't mean that you know everything about every other child that has Down syndrome.  All individuals with Down syndrome are different from one another, just like all children with brown hair are different from one another.  Children with Down syndrome have wide ranges of abilities and shouldn't be grouped into one lump sum of individuals.  Children with Down syndrome are all unique individuals, with different strengths and weaknesses. 

Children with Down syndrome really are more ALIKE than different!    


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