One thing that keeps popping into my mind is whether or not people with Down syndrome doing every day things is worthy of a news story. I’ve been thinking about it for a year and I still don’t have an answer.
Part of me thinks “sure, why not?” It’s a chance for people in the typical world to see how normal life can be with Down syndrome. These stories put a human face on an oft misunderstood diagnosis. I especially don’t mind when the story is about something that most people don’t do, regardless of chromosomes. This story about a teen achieving the Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts is a good example. It takes so much work to become an Eagle Scout that I think anyone achieving that rank is worthy of a news story.
Another part of me is annoyed by it. I feel like it feeds into the “people need to overcome disability” mentality, or celebrating that someone accomplished something despite who they are. Down syndrome is part of who Rowenna is – saying she “overcame” her disability to achieve something is like saying she overcame having blue eyes, or was able to do something despite having two legs. I wish it wasn’t news that people with Down syndrome go to college or get married or hold a job. They didn’t overcome anything (well, maybe discrimination…) and they didn’t do it despite anything. They just did it because these are things people do every day – fall in love, go to work, socialize with friends.
One of my biggest hopes for the future is that Rowenna can get married or drive a car or go to college or have a job…all without making headlines.
To me, that would be a sign of true inclusion. If this beautiful girl of mine can find her life partner and get married and no one even bats an eye…well, that would be a great thing. It would be great for it to be so normal no one thinks twice!