In our capitalist economy, our children with Down syndrome are seen by some as less than – not able to be “contributing” members of society.
So we fight.
We fight language in an effort to change perceptions. We fight against the “R” word because it demeans our loved one. We fight for person-first language in hopes that it will somehow convince people to care. We hope with all our being that saying our child is “a person who has Down syndrome” instead of “Down’s Syndrome child” will help society see the person before the label. Lately, we’ve even started using the phrase “happens to have Down syndrome,” perhaps hoping that people will see this person we love with all our hearts as we do – a human being – and not a drain on society at best, someone who should not have been born at worst. We cling to phrases like “More alike than different,” because we feel the only way to create change is to convince society that people with Down syndrome aren’t so odd that they should be made fun of, or worse yet, ignored.