Do you know if the Down Syndrome it’s mild?

People don’t have “mild” Down syndrome, or “severe” Down syndrome. Ability is not dependent on the condition, but rather the individual. People either have Down Syndrome or they don’t. Unlike autism, there is no spectrum.

All people with Down Syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses. Henry will have talents and strengths James and I will never have. I don’t know if they will be intellectual talents, creative talents, physical talents, or emotional talents, but I know he will carry within him something amazing that I can only dream of having. He will be like a superhero.

Having a disability is really just having a different ability. I wish I could remember where I heard or read that. It was very powerful to me at the time. I immediately thought of X-Men… I’ve watched most of them reluctantly with my husband. How the typical people are always so frightened of different abilities and try to eliminate them… it really resonated with me. I’ll admit I was always timid around those with disabilities growing up.

Ableism is the false idea that disabled people are by default, inferior. When in truth, a disability is just another way for the mind or body to be.

Different can be scary, but my goal is for different to be as celebrated in our house. Can different and typical coexist and celebrate each other? I think we can do it.

For now Henry may take longer to accomplish a task or express himself. I have to really watch his signs hard and focus on his vocalizations. Sometimes a lot of signs run together and look very similar to others and I’m not sure if he’s saying Mamma, eat, or drink… or Daddy, sleepy, or it hurts…. or more, or book. I have to ask a lot of questions to try to decipher what he is saying. I have to listen hard for the pitch and quality of his voice for affirmation. He’s learning to nod his head now.

The best advice I can think of is to try to be considerate of the extra time it might take a person who is differently-abled to get things done or say what they need to say. Kids and adults with Down Syndrome have much to say. They have thoughts, ideas, and enjoy meaningful conversations. I promise the extra time and effort you may have to spend in order to listen is worth it.

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