October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
At a time when 90 per cent of babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are being aborted, it is vitally important to get involved with Down Syndrome Awareness Month. A diagnosis should not be a death sentence. It should be a time when the prospective parents learn about what their child can do, not what he/she cannot do.
It was only a few short decades ago that the parents of a child with Down syndrome would be encouraged to institutionalize that child. Doctors and parents did not know back then what the real capabilities are of such a child. No child should be defined by his or her disability. They should only be defined by who they are as a person.
Society has come a long way in recognizing the capabilities and values of these children and adults. Like all of us, people with Down syndrome have different talents, capabilities, and aspirations for their lives. We all just need to be guided, educated, and given the opportunity to achieve our goals.
Not all of us can be musicians, actors, painters, or athletes. Those are talents that we either have or do not have. These talents also exist in people who have Down syndrome, and they have gone on like their non-Down syndrome counterparts to be successful in these areas.
Other people with Down syndrome have gotten college degrees, are business owners, have gone into many different fields, bought homes and apartments, and have had successful marriages. Some businesses have also recognized the value of hiring people with Down syndrome, as they are often their most loyal and valued employees. For example, Freia David recently retired from a Needham, Massachusetts, McDonald’s restaurant after 32 years of service. She loved her customers, and they loved her. The marque in front of the store announced her retirement party and invited one and all.
The fact is that people with Down syndrome are just like everyone else. We may have different birth defects, injuries, or diseases which limit us in certain ways, but we are all the same inside. We all want to be loved, be happy, and achieve certain goals; so spread the word this month and every month on Down syndrome awareness.