I’m not a person with Down Syndrome and sadly I don’t currently know anyone who is. I do, however, know that the 21st of March is World Down Syndrome Day and since I have a blog now I thought I’d best make sure my readers know that too.
I believe it’s very important for disabled people to stand together in solidarity with each other and fight for inclusion for all, not just people with the same impairments as us. I know that sometimes it’s tempting to paint ourselves as a group that is easy to include in society not like those other disabled people who need 24 hour support / who can’t talk / who can’t work / whatever but that’s really not a good way to do things. In little impairment-specific groups, we are tiny minorities. All together, we are one huge minority (making up at least 10% of all people depending on which impairments you count in). So, it’s important that I highlight the day and we all do what we can to help other disabled people.
I’ve spent the best part of an afternoon searching unsuccessfully for the blogs of people with down syndrome to link to. I’ll have to try harder and would greatly appreciate links to blogs of people with DS in the comments. I’ll likely read parent blogs too but I’d like to first get a good grasp of what people with DS think about issues which affect them.
What I have found that I hope will be useful are some organisations which look pretty good to me as a disabled adult and seem to be doing the kind of things I’d want autism organisations to be doing.
My criteria were:
- Actively includes adults with Down Syndrome as well as children with Down Syndrome and their families
- Any research focuses on stuff that will actually help people with Down Syndrome rather than focussing on preventing them from being born in the first place
- Supports people with Down Syndrome advocating for themselves rather than treating them like eternal children
- Lobbies for change in laws,policies and practices to further inclusion of people with Down Syndrome
- Has no view on the ethics of abortion (a number of Down Syndrome organisations are very pro-life which, while I find it quite understandable, would potentially upset, trigger or put off many people)
So, with those criteria in mind, I’d like to direct UK readers to the Down Syndrome Association and US readers to National Down Syndrome Congress. Both have ways to donate, get involved or learn about how people with Down Syndrome live in those countries.
I’d also like to direct you towards this man with DS’s T shirt shop.
And finally, even if you do nothing else as a result of reading this post, please, please go and look through the photographs of and by people with Down Syndrome on this website as it will challenge and change any ideas you may have had about what people with Down Syndrome look like and what jobs they do.