7 Things A Person With Down Syndrome Wished You Knew

by | Mar 10, 2022 | Stories

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During the month of March, the Sapphire Family have partnered with Down Syndrome QLD to help bring awareness around how to best prepare for the transition from living at home into a SIL (Supported Independent Living) environment.

On March 30th, join our online event via Zoom to learn more.

In theme with our up-coming event, and in the spirit of bringing awareness to Down Syndrome, here are 7 things a person with Down Syndrome wished you knew from the perspective of a young man and his loving sister.

  1. I never give up

People put limitations on my abilities, and that gets me down sometimes, but I will never stop trying to accomplish my goals. I work hard to be the best person I can be.

2. My dreams are as important as anyone else’s

I ignore people who say that the things I hope for are never going to happen.

3. I want what everyone else wants

I want a loving relationship and a job that I like to go to every day. I’m still looking for that perfect person, but I’m the same as everybody else.

4. I don’t want your pity

I do want your respect. Last week when we were bowling, I heard someone making fun of a friend. Sometimes people can be bullies. No one should be talking about others like that, no matter what. People with disabilities have feelings – try to understand them. Put yourself in my shoes.

5. It’s hard for me to accept my limitations

Most people with Down Syndrome don’t have children, and this is something I wish was different. I do want to have my own kids, but I know that probably won’t happen.

I’m going to add two more from our family’s perspective:

6. When you see a new parent of a kid with Down Syndrome, don’t say you’re ‘sorry’!

My mum recalls, voice cracking, ONE person who said, ‘What a beautiful baby’. So tell the new parent that their baby is precious, cute, adorable, sweet, gorgeous. Comment on their blue eyes or perfect gummy smile. The point is, congratulate them. Let’s celebrate diversity!

7. Don’t use the word ‘retard’

I’m not sure why some folks still think it is ok to say it, but it’s not. Stop saying it because it is hurtful, demeaning and contributes to the dehumanisation of people with disabilities. My brother is the most loving person I know. He calls me every Friday. He asks about what his nieces and nephews want for their birthday so he can get them the perfect gift. He and my dad were the best of buds, and when my dad was diagnosed with a debilitating illness, my brother took care of him – getting him water, helping him to the bathroom, finding something for him to watch on TV. I hope someone takes care of me like that if I ever get sick.

When we think about a good life, a life with meaning, we contemplate close relationships. People you love and who love you. Finding joy in every day. When I ask my brother if he’s happy, he says simply, “Yes, I am. I have a family who loves each other through thick and thin. I have good friends that make me laugh. I love playing in the Special Olympics, and tae kwon do. I go on long walks every day, and I love my job taking care of dogs.”

We are grateful for Tony & sister Rachel speaking from the heart to help bring awareness to Down Syndrome.

Photo credit: Tony & Rachel Cherry

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