October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. What a wonderful time to shine a light on and celebrate the abilities of individuals with Down syndrome. In our family, we advocate daily for my daughter Catherine with hopes of fostering inclusion and enlightening others about the unique personalities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome.
There are many myths about individuals with Down syndrome. They are sometimes perpetuated by a lack of knowledge and limited awareness.
Here are a few of society’s myths that I counter with Catherine’s truths:
|✓ People suffer from Down syndrome.
|✓ Catherine has Down syndrome; she does NOT suffer from it!
|✓ People with Down syndrome are the happiest people you ever meet.
|✓ Catherine is a happy, sassy little girl, but she does get frustrated, sad and mischievous.
|✓ Families with children with Down syndrome mourn their children.
|✓ We celebrate the gift of Catherine and thank God that she is with us.
|✓ People with Down syndrome cannot learn.
|✓ Catherine goes to school every day and learns reading, writing and arithmetic.
|✓ Your child will not walk, talk or do what other kids do.
|✓ Catherine swims, listens to music and plays a mean game of Candy Land.
This is only a short list of myths that I hope to dispel with Catherine’s truths. The next time you see a child or adult with Down syndrome, remember they are a gift created in God’s image and they live with life’s possibilities, hopes and dreams — just like any other person.