Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down syndrome Awareness month.  Well, there are a lot of different issues competing for awareness each month, and Down syndrome is one of them this month.  Now, a big part of me wants to get sidetracked about why we should be more aware some months than others, and whether "awareness" is really all that helpful or just politically correct jargon.  But the truth is, there is a diminishing number of people who have Down syndrome in the world, and civilized people should be more aware than they are about some of the special concerns facing them, and should remember that awareness the rest of the year.  Sometimes a little thing, a kind action or a bit of effort to slow down and include someone, can make all the difference.

Sometimes Down syndrome awareness means combatting negative stereotypes, like the "r-word," the self-fulfilling half-baked prophecy that "they'll never amount to anything," or the demeaning language that would describe Tertia as "a Down syndrome child" instead of "a child with Down syndrome.  But I prefer to be a little more positive in focus, and sometimes awareness means embracing a stereotype that is actually true.  Like the one I've been thinking about a lot lately: people with Down syndrome really love to dance.
 The world's cutest zombie, all ready for the "Thriller performance at her school.  There have been three performances of "Thriller" in the last week, actually; there was also Zumba last Saturday and the high school dance last night:
at which she was honored with the "prettiest costume" award.  It was a cool experience, and I got to see that Down syndrome/dancing stereotype in action, not just with her.  But she did say, yesterday evening, "That's enough Thriller."

(By the way, the Hermione hat came out pretty well for having been sewn together in 5 minutes yesterday afternoon.  The pieces were already cut out of polarfleece and were in that $5 Massive Bin of UFOs and Scraps from the Epic Estate Sale last summer).

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