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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dignity of Risk

ESNP has an interesting video about Garrett, a young man with Down syndrome, and his training leading up to his first MMA fight.

Overall I thought they did a great job reporting this piece on Garrett, but I wish there wasn't the need to report that "Garrett is very highly functioning for someone with Down syndrome. He reads at the 3rd grade level and has the cognitive ability of an 8 or 9 year old." I didn't think that had relevance to his journey of participating in his first MMA fight. (The highly functioning for someone with Down syndrome bit I'll save for another blog post.)

I thought it was sad to hear that while growing up he didn't want to have friends, or associate with, any one who had Down syndrome or other disabilities. He didn't want to be called Garrett because Garrett was someone who has Down syndrome. We have talked to Kayla about having Down syndrome, she knows she has Ds, but I don't think at this point she grasps exactly what that means or how that affects her. I am trying to prepare myself that one day she may express being upset about having Down syndrome.

Garrett's father said a lot of people gave him a hard time for allowing Garrett to participate in this fight. I loved that he gave Garrett the opportunity. It's called the "dignity of risk" - “Dignity of risk” means respecting each individual’s autonomy and self-determination (or “dignity”) to make choices for himself or herself. Garrett trained for the fight and wanted to get in the ring; they found a fighter with the same height and build who agreed to fight him.

Garrett's reaction time isn't as quick as his opponent; I liked that his opponent didn't take advantage of that situation. He legitimately landed some punches and slams on Garrett ... as did Garrett to his opponent.

I thought the ending was a great wrap-up showing Garrett's journey of self-awareness and self-acceptance.

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Anna said...

I saw this video the other day! I thought it was great that his parents let him make his own decisions. He is after all an adult! I felt so sad when he didn't want to be associated with anyone who had Down Syndrome. But it was nice to see at the end that he came to accept his extra gene and then was training other guys with DS. I cringed when they brought up his reading level and other things that have nothing to do with him being in the MMA. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the "high functioning" label that people seem to put on those with different abilities.

Cindy said...

This was inspiring to me. I think maybe he was treating others with special needs, the same way he had been treated. I'm so inspired with his parents buying the gym and that he's blossoming and accepting others. Great video.

ahoy.jenni said...

Thanks again for sharing, 'dignity of risk' is a great term.
We haven't 'told' our daughter she has Ds. She is 9. I'm not sure what to do there, she doesn't really notice she is different (!) but she does look knowingly at others with Ds.
I'm still working on it, we will let her know one day but for now I am in the boat where I prefer not to label her, as after all it is a label from the medical model, and why do our lives have to be labelled in this way.
The school she goes to tell all kids that everyone is different, we are all different in different ways, and that for now is working. Kids accept that and to be honest, that's all we need for now. Why fill their heads with talk about chromosomes etc when there are so many other interesting things to talk about!

Pressed Petals said...

I saw this video about a month ago and had the same reaction as you on every level.