October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and we’re celebrating with our “Different is Cool!” photo campaign!
The photos are geared toward showing the general public that our loved ones are unique individuals with talents and personalities all their own. At the same time, we have some awareness that needs to be raised within our own communities.
One thing we don’t discuss much is the quality of life for adults who have Down syndrome, live in group homes, and don’t have family members to look out for them. We should spend some of our time caring for those who came before us.
The other major concern of mine is the racial disparities that plague our community. During this month, many parents share “Did you know” facts about Down syndrome. One that gets a lot of attention is the fantastic rise in life expectancy for people with Down syndrome since the ’80s.
I wish I could find them all and put a disclaimer on them:
*Only applies to Caucasians!
We know very well how wonderful our loved ones are. We know the value inherent in every individual. We preach the importance of every life. We battle against bigotry, discrimination, and stereotypes every day. We fight so our children can have a better life.
When faced with the statistics that people of color who have Down syndrome are still dying prematurely, somehow we fail to be enraged.
Let someone use the “R” word in our presence and we’re ready to do battle.
How can we not be up in arms about this?
So yes, white people with Down syndrome are now expected to live into their 60’s. Non-whites – half that or less.
Were YOU aware?
If not, and you want to learn more, see my earlier blog on the topic.
Now that you are, please help us spread the word. This should be the highest priority on our list of advocacy efforts.