Every baby is a gift, even if the wrapping is a little different.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality. It occurs 1 in every 800 live births and more than 350,000 Americans have Down syndrome. It seems that we wouldn't need a month to raise awareness.

But we do.

I still find that people don't know much about DS and many are still uncomfortable and afraid of interacting with people with DS. Many ask me questions, which I truly appreciate. I'd rather have someone ask me a question than have them continue to believe a myth.

I think the biggest myth I've encountered is that people with DS are always happy. People say things like, "Oh, your son is just happy. He must be happy all the time."

Um, nope. Not happy all the time. Downright unhappy sometimes.

My son goes through all the same emotions as my other kids. Yes, he is generally happy, but so are my other kids. He can become frustrated, upset, sad, angry, impatient, silly, or any of the other multitude of emotions we all face.

People with Down syndrome have feelings. Lots of feelings. They express them well sometimes. Other times they do not. Just like the rest of us.

So let's dispense with the stereotype that people with DS are happy all the time and realize they experience the same myriad of feelings we all do.

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