I apologize for breaking the 31 for 21 challenge but yesterday I couldn't get one extra minute to put a post up.
I belong on a listserve for families with a child with Down Syndrome and an email was recently sent out regarding the new show on Fox called Glee. In one of the more recent shows, a woman is talking about morning sickness and when asked said that morning sickness is a good thing because it means that your child is not going to be a "mongoloid". I followed the link and watched the clip because I assumed when it was mentioned in the email, that the negative comment was going to be regarding the use of the word "retarded" or something along those lines. I actually felt sick to my stomach for all of the people living with Down Syndrome and how hurtful a word like that is.
Throughout all of my early research regarding Down Syndrome when Colin was born, I read a lot about how children with Down Syndrome were often referred to as Mongoloids because of their appearance and mental capacities. I read the story by Gene Stallings about his son who was born in the 1950s (I'm pretty sure it was that time period) and it was suggested to them, and many other families, that they institutionalize their children because of their diagnosis. They were considered "uneducatable". It amazes me how far we have come that when someone is diagnosed with Down Syndrome today, it really means that they have a world of possibilities ahead of them, just like anyone else. Education is key, just like anyone else. Love is key, just like anyone else.
Sitcoms and comedies are designed to be funny. I enjoy laughter. However, I found it extremely hurtful that Fox chose to use such a word...period. I am sitting here trying to find a way to word this, but I don't even have to explain myself.
Chris and I were heartbroken when we found out that Colin had a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. We were scared and feared the unknown. Would he have health problems? Would he graduate high school? Would he ever get married? Is school going to be difficult for him?
However, Colin is the best thing that has ever happened to us and we wouldn't be who we are now if it weren't for him. It's always scary to venture off on a path that you hadn't planned in the beginning but just like anything else, you find your way and you realize it's ok to be on that path.
I'm sure we will still have some questions along the way and may have fears about the unknown, but Colin is showing us every day that with perserverance, you can accomplish anything...that's pretty good for only being 5 months old.
Thanks to Colin and to our friends and family, we are all raising awareness for Down Syndrome. We will change stereotypes so that hopefully, TV networks won't use hurtful words to make people laugh.