We all have expectations when it comes to our children – with or without a Ds diagnosis. How we handle them is what makes a difference.
How long our children are expected to live is the big one.
“As recently as 1983, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome was 25 years. The dramatic increase to 60 years is largely due to the end of the inhumane practice of institutionalizing people with Down syndrome.” – Global Down Syndrome Foundation
Thanks to the people who advocated for deinstitutionalization we can hope for a longer life with our children. (Parents of Caucasian children have more of a reason to hope.)
Advocates and families have to perform a balancing act. It’s important not to allow our children to settle for less than they are capable of. On the other hand, we have to accept them for who they are and celebrate each new achievement. In this way, we’re like any other parent; except for one thing.
Society has already set expectations for us.
We are taught that “children are our future.” But when our child has Down syndrome or any other intellectual disability, they are expected to be burdens to their families and society in general.
One of the hardest things to do as advocates is to change society’s expectations, and in turn, allow our children to face the world with hope for a limitless future.