I was so saddened to read this article on how people still believe that those with developmental disabilities are, “horrors:” Babies with Down Syndrome are a ‘Horror’ Claims Philly Columnist.
As a parent of a child, son-to-be-adult, who has a developmental disability, I will say that raising him has taken more time, effort and money than raising my neurotypical daughter. And while it seems that he will probably be able to live a “normal” life as an adult, he will probably always need a little more support from us, a spouse, others in his life than a “normal” adult would.
But to classify him or someone with Down Syndrome as a “horror”? I thought we were beyond that as a society.
Maybe people with developmental disabilities will never be “contributing members of society” in the American sense of being economically independent and supporting others financially. But what do we hear over and over again from people at the end of their lives. Is it that they wished that they could have made more money or spent more money on someone else? No, it is that they wished that they would have taken more time to love and accept love.
I spent a fair amount of time around people with Down Syndrome who were classmates of my son in special education classes. And I am sorry to sound cliche, but they truly are some of the most loving people I have ever met. They would keep watch over my son, their colleague, and make sure that he knew what was going on, make sure that he was included – something that generally doesn’t happen around his “normal” peers.
So if we truly believe that Love is the most important thing in this life, wouldn’t we want more of these “horrors” around, not less?
Happy late Valentine’s Day!