Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blasted Absolute

No one in their right mind would say that “all kids hate peas” right?  Because all kids are different.  No two kids like the same foods, play in the same ways, learn in the same styles.  If everyone was the same, that instruction booklet for raising a kid would be possible.

But, for some reason, when you have a child with special needs, your kid is put into a box.  A box that identifies them, limits what they’re able to do, how they learn, and what medical problems they’ll have.

That box is a generalization.  And by definition, when that box is meant to define your child, it’s likely that your kid will fit those descriptors.  But why do we expect them TO fit every one of those holes?

Of everything I hear or read, I hate anything that starts with “All individuals with Down syndrome…”  The only thing that applies to EVERY individual with Down syndrome is that they have a triplication of the genetic material found on the 21st chromosome in some cells.  Some individuals with Ds don’t even have 47 chromosomes! 

I read something online today that was referencing “all of the health problems that ALL kids have”, “all of the feeding issues that ALL kids have”, and few other “all”-type statements (including one ON the NDSS website that said that ALL individuals with Ds have some form of cognitive delay!  It’s simply not true!)  And it drives me NUTS.  Because there isn’t a single thing that Down syndrome guarantees.  Period.

So, I guess what I’m really trying to say, for anyone on the “outside”, is please beware of anything that says “all”, “everyone”, “always”…  you get the picture.  Yes, they’re generalizations.  And yes, they do apply to, say, a larger proportion of “our” kids than typical kids.  But for every single one of those stereotypes, I’m sure I can point you toward many others who don’t fit it. 

Having a kid is a guarantee of nothing.  You can’t guarantee that your child will accomplish everything you want.  And you can’t guarantee that your child WON’T achieve everything you think they CAN’T.  Special needs or not.

…and I’m off my soapbox. 



  1. I'm totally with you on this one. Jesenia at this time does not have any medical issues. She did have oxygen for about a month after she was born to help close her PDA which they said was more than likely because she was almost five weeks early, not because she had Down syndrome. Her oldest brother was the one that had heart surgery when he was 12 days old.