Someone landed on my blog yesterday by searching for "What are some positive things about people living with Down syndrome?"
I'm glad to know someone was searching out the positive things ... and I hope they found what they were looking for.
Of course I have no way of knowing if that was a new parent, a parent with a prenatal diagnosis, or even a parent at all. Maybe someone was doing a research paper.
My 'positive things' would be the emphasis on the word living. That the person with Down syndrome is alive and living their life, and doing what makes them happy.
Almost 6 years ago I wrote a post called Hope and Normalcy, Part 2 and here is something I wrote that explains my thoughts on positive things living with Down syndrome:
...I will have had the opportunity to know my child, to watch her grow and
learn and play and be whoever she is going to be. I would rather have
this real person to hold in my arms and laugh and cry with. I would
rather have my child here to celebrate birthdays and holidays and first
days of school and milestones. I would rather have the joy and privilege
of raising her and molding her into a wonderful human being...
The positive things are simply knowing this person who has Down syndrome, welcoming them in to your life, and loving them. (There are also a few perks of having Down syndrome as well.)
Is it all positive things living with Down syndrome? Of course not.
Is parenting in general all positive things all the time? Of course not.
There are challenges and frustrations, for sure. I experience that in having a child with Down syndrome, just as I do with having a typical child. While having Down syndrome brings with it some challenges, I think society, and lack of acceptance and understanding of people with Down syndrome (or disabilities in general) prove to be the bigger challenges.
Parenting in and of itself isn't easy. It can be hard. Raising little human beings without a perfect one-size-fits-all instruction manual can be hard. But it's worth it; and there will always be positive things.
There are positive things like my son asking his sister, who has Down syndrome, "Kayla, do you want to live next door to me when we're bigger?" and Kayla saying, "Yeah!" and Lucas saying, "Yay! We're going to be neighbors!"
There are positive things you hear about your child like this:
Kayla told me that T pushed M on the bus. (The same M who was wishy-washy with her friendship at the beginning of the school year, but things got better). Yesterday morning, as we were walking to the bus stop, I asked M about the incident. She said that T was trying to get down the aisle on the bus and shoved her to get by. M fell on her backpack and hit her head on the floor.
Then she told me, "And Kayla stayed right by my side after it happened. She did not leave my side at all the whole rest of the time; she stayed right with me."
That explains why I saw them walking side-by-side off the bus, all the way home, the day before.
Positive things: My daughter knowing it wasn't a nice thing, what T did to M...and staying with M to make sure she was ok. Positive things like being a kind person and good friend. Positive things like knowing when someone needs a little TLC. Positive things like empathizing and sympathizing.
Yes, there are positive things about people living with Down syndrome.