Today, I was looking up something about Down Syndrome for the 31 for 21 challenge. And look what I found on About.com under Myths, Misconceptions & Facts about Down Syndrome:
"FACT: Most people with Down syndrome have only mild to moderate mental retardation."Um, Fact? I don't think so! First, while people with Down Syndrome may have intellectual disabilities. They are not IN FACT retarded. Now, in all honesty the website that "most" Down Syndrome children have the ability to learn.
I am not making this up. It is simply amazing the misinformation out there!
The truth is, like all children, those who have Down Syndrome are not clones of one another! There are differences among all of us. The same is true with Down Syndrome, those with severe cardiac disease and those with mild. Those who need glasses and those who don't. Those who are potty-trained at 3 and those who are not.
Hmm...sounds like Down Syndrome should not define the child.
The scary part, to me...is this "fact" is on the web. On a popular website that I am sure a lot of people may use for their information. Imagine Allie deciding to do a report on Down Syndrome? Sure, she knows not to use the "R" word. I am more concerned about another student (or parent) finding this "fact" and not knowing it is fiction.
But there is also guilt. I was one of those idiots who used the word as a noun. When Boo was obviously delayed and we met with the neurologist I remember asking, does this me she is retarded? (In New England we say RE-TAH-DID). I wasn't trying to be politically incorrect, hurtful or worse. I just did not know what the proper term was supposed to be. I was ignorant.
Now I know, the power of words and how they hurt. It took Boo to show me the power. It to Jillian, her friend with Down Syndrome to show me that not all kids with DS are the same.
So while the only way to combat ignorance is with knowledge, I see a nasty e-mail to About.com in my future!
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