Sarah Ford | October 21, 2014
How the Down Syndrome Community Sugarcoats Difficult Realities About the Condition
By David Perry
Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan declared October Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Ever since, too many efforts at awareness have relied on pictures of people with Down syndrome being cute, accompanied by constant, upbeat assertions that they and their families are all very happy.
Throughout October, adorable photos of people with Down syndrome and heartwarming, inspirational stories will stream across the Internet, all in the name of awareness. Shirts declare that extra chromosomes make you a hero. Other slogans and memes praise parents of children with Down syndrome. One T-shirt proclaims, “No frowns, just Downs!”
In fact, sometimes my son, a 7-year-old with Down syndrome, frowns. So do his parents. In the Down syndrome community, we have worked so hard to promote the positives that too frequently we leave no space to discuss the struggles.
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