Never be afraid to ask questions about Down syndrome. Questions help. Assumptions hurt.
This is a picture of a woman who knows diddly squat about Down syndrome.
Flash forward 5 years….
This is a picture of a woman who knows a lot about Down syndrome. Not everything, but pretty close.
My daughter, Willow, was my introduction to Down syndrome. Before she came along, I knew nothing. Even while holding her for the first time, I still knew nothing other than my new bundle felt a lot like a baby, not a baby with Down syndrome.
Willow has taught me a lot. Correction, Willow is teaching me a lot. While I’m trying my best to pass this knowledge along, I realize there are still many myths, misconceptions and questions out there.
I get it.
Here’s what I hope others, especially those reading this, will get: It’s ok to ask questions.
I love it when people ask me things about Willow. It’s like a free pass to gush about how great she is. Questions don’t offend me. They tickle me. They make me feel like people care! They make me feel like my daughter is seen, respected and wanted.
Assumptions are the things that hurt.
Don’t assume that my daughter has nothing to say just because she’s mostly silent.
Don’t assume my daughter doesn’t want to be included.
Don’t assume my daughter doesn’t understand you.
Don’t assume that I’ll snap at you if you say the wrong thing. I may lovingly correct you, but I won’t attack you. Remember, I once was you!
According to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, only 38% of Americans know someone with Down syndrome. It’s easy to see why there are so many people who know so little about this condition!
While only a small percentage of people know someone with Down syndrome, I am willing to bet a larger percentage of Americans have seen someone with Down syndrome! So, I am urging you to take the next step and introduce yourself! All it takes is a “hello!” After that, see where the conversation takes you! Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Oh, and for those of you wondering if Willow’s desire to eat raw pumpkin has anything to do with her extra chromosome: No. She’s just crazy. She gets it from her father.