This post is in relation to the recent documentary of the above title that was shown on the BBC last week.
Is it really 2016? Do I really live in a country that sees difference as less? Apparently so…
Instead of seeing those with Down’s Syndrome as a burden, I wish the world could see the many positives and benefits. It is important to bear in mind that the physical health problems that can affect those with Down’s Syndrome can also be present in anyone of us.
The information given to expectant mothers in this country does not help them make truly informed decisions. It appears that it is all doom and gloom if you have a child with Down’s Syndrome. How can any medical professional categorically say that a newborn baby with Down’s Syndrome will not meet particular milestones? We are living in a society that sees people in terms of how much they will cost, not their strengths or what they can offer their communities.
I have worked with the most amazing teenager with Down’s Syndrome for a little over a year. It is not an exaggeration that she has helped me as much as I have helped her.
September 2015 saw me at a low; I was under the crisis team and rarely leaving the house. My anxiety and depression had complete control of me. I started working with Faith mid September. She was like a ray of sunshine. She gave me a reason to leave the house. Faith genuinely misses me when I am unable to work with her. She cares about me so much and this was very much needed at my lowest.
In the space of a year, Faith has developed her own self help skills. She can now fasten buttons, organise her belongings for school and tidy up after herself. Faith is an active member of her local guides group. She has friends there. When we first started going, Faith would be practically glued to me. Now, she will go over and sit with her friends and initiate conversations. She is so much more confident. Faith completed the summer reading challenge in her local library. She has gone up an entire level in her reading! Faith’s sense of humour has come on leaps and bounds. Her emotional understanding is always improving. She apologises when she is in the wrong and can explain why she is sorry. Faith is lovely with animals. She loves nothing more than walking round the park with Walter and Bella. Faith wants to learn new skills and to be as independent as possible. She just needs more help to show her how.
I am fully aware that a child with Down’s Syndrome brings its own challenges. Faith can be incredible stubborn, easily distracted, bossy and can choose to do things how and when she wants. Not everyone feels they are able to have a child with Down’s Syndrome which is completely understandable.
This post isn’t intended to shame those who feel unable to have a child with Down’s Syndrome. I am all for pro choice. But bear in mind that a diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome is not necessarily a bad one. Working with a child with Down’s Syndrome has made me more patient, empathetic, caring, tolerant and understanding. I get to laugh, smile and enjoy life in so many ways thanks to Down’s Syndrome.
I dread to think what my life would be like without the wonder that is Down’s Syndrome.