Wednesday, October 3, 2007

31 for 21: Already slowin' down

Ok, so I'm supposed to post every day, and I think I can do that. It's not that I don't have stuff to write, it's that I can't find the time to sit down and compose the long stories that would be necessary to do justice to some of these events. This month is going to be a good practice in time management.... stay tuned.

So for today, instead of just talking about how behind I am, I'll simply touch on something that I've been thinking about alot lately.... ready?

The whole stuff about "DS kids" versus "kids with DS" doesn't bother me. Now hold on...I'm not saying I don't understand why it does bother some, it simply doesn't bother me. I can only speak for myself, though my husband agrees, that it makes me no difference the order in which the words are placed in the sentence. So if someone is telling me about "another little DS girl" that they know, I don't take offense. I admit that I notice it every time, mostly because I know it is such a hot topic among the DS community. (Hmmmm...honestly, I don't know if I'm supposed to say the "community of those who have a loved one with Down syndrome"...but I'm tired.) In my mind, it's the same as when someone talks about their "gifted children."

I will say that if people are being particularly derogatory, I'll speak up...but I find that most just simply haven't heard of the "people-first" philosophy. They talk of blue-eyed girls, preemie babies, and at-risk students, so it follows, without malice, that they would continue the same. I don't know...I can't really break it down like it's in my head, but I can just say it's not a big deal to me. I have plenty on my list of Things That Annoy Me to No End, but this just isn't one of them. I'll try to be careful to respect the feelings of those who are sensitive to it, absolutely... I just thought I'd say my 2 cents.

Later edit: Please understand...In the interest of the whole attempt at Down Syndrome Awareness for October, I bring this up as an eye-opener for some and a statement of fact of my own perspective. I make a point to use the order which does not offend, respecting the fact that many are bothered by it. I sometimes forget, but I try. And I think that for those of us who are just learning or are not bothered by it, we should be that respectful. But I also want to let those know who do get prickly each time they hear it said "wrong" that it's not necessarily an insult or attempt to demean your child. Just food for thought... not a world mandate.


  1. I never heard that there was an issue with adjective vs. object of the preposition. I certainly wouldn't take offense, either way. I like your attitude of assuming people are not meaning to be offensive. I guess I could take offense that someone would think me ignorant just because I don't use what some would call the proper order of title, but I won't. Why choose to be offended?? I'm just a grandmother who is very proud of her DS grandbaby.

  2. Good food for thought RK. This is the kind of stuff that people (me in particular) like to hear about. If you don't tell us issues like this, then we don't know and will come off ignorant and unintentionally offend people. Even though we have NO intention of doing so. Thank you for your honestly and bringing up an important issue for the who do have children with DS. The older I get, the more I realize how much open conversation is essential to getting along with out human brothers and sisters. Thanks.

  3. Could I incorrectly spell more words in that last post??

  4. Very well said. I agree with you.

    Oh, and I might have to steal your idea and do a post called "my list of Things That Annoy Me to No End". It will be pages long, but it's an excellent idea.

  5. I agree. It doesn't bother me either. I try not to say it because I know it bothers others, and like you, I ALWAYS notice it. But it's really not at all an issue for me.

    (And I wondered about the DS community v community of people affected by DS---it's so many WORDS!)


    Well said!

  6. That said, I HATE it when people refer to my daughter as "a downs" or "a Down syndrome."

    THAT bothers me. She's a kid.

  7. Good to know. I have to say that being a person without a child with DS. You really just want to know what your friend or family wants. So it is good to know what is or isn't offensive. Good to be aware. Thanks.

  8. I'm going to agree with you by disagreeing with a round about kind of way...

    I have become one of those people who prefer the people first language. In the beginning, I didn't care so much, either. I was just happy if no one said "retarded," though I was even a little lax on that one, too. For me it was all about context, which is what I think you're saying. No harm meant, no harm taken.

    Then as Avery grew, and became his own little person, it really began to hurt me that soooo many people could not see beyond the DS. He was DS this and DS that, a DS baby, a DS boy, a "downs" kid or even, like Tricia said, "a downs syndrome." Over and over, I found myself wanting to say, and sometimes even saying, No! If you want to understand anything about Avery, you must understand that he is a little boy FIRST.

    The people first language is a very small way of honoring that request: encouraging people to think about how what we say has larger implications.

    So now I find myself using the awkward, politically correct language because I respect the message, and have lived it, and continue to live with it. I'd really rather that people simply refer to my son without all the labels. Simply, Avery.

    But. That's just my take on it, and since I'm so up-in-arms about seeing the person first these days, I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't allow that just as every child with DS is different and unique, so is the family of that child. We all have our own ways, peace and love to all of us.


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