Thursday, May 03, 2007

Delayed

So, turns out May 1 was "Blogging Against Disablism Day." Good thing I read Mason-Dixon, or I would never have known.

Should be a subject near and dear to my heart. Should be something I have plenty to say on. I have, after all, almost 18 years experience of life with a disabled child.

Marco has that most invisible of disabilities: mental retardation. Not in the sense that you can look at him and not know he's disabled. He has Down Syndrome. It's pretty obvious.

But.

Handicapped parking is for the wheel-chair bound. Handicapped pets are for the blind. Sesame Street teaches sign language. Do a Google Image search for "handicapped." The person with Down Syndrome is conspicuous by their absence. It took me nine pages and I refuse to link to what I found there.

We are uncomfortable around people whose minds are different than our own. We are especially ill at ease among those who have little or no language. Marco cannot tell you how brave he is. He cannot tell you that he knows you're making fun of him. He cannot tell you that his feelings are not simple or shallow. He cannot tell you that he knows the only yarn worth bothering about is the kind made from rainbows. He cannot tell you he is a complete person. But if you stop, if you take a moment, if you pay attention, if you give him your time, you can find out.

When I was expecting each of my three children, I prayed for a healthy and happy baby, sound in mind and sound in body.

That's exactly what I got.

4 comments:

Pedro Morgado said...

Blogging against disablism.

AmyArtisan said...

Julie - What a lovely post about your son! Thanks for sharing! :)

Jess said...

Thank you for sharing Marco with us, Julie. It really is a shame that people with Down Syndrome are so marginalized in our society - every single person with DS I've ever met has been a wonderful, loving, giving person. We have so much to gain from including these people in our lives instead of just ignoring them.

Shelly said...

Thanks for sharing that story about your family. Not only do you have them to be thankful for, but the life experience probably makes you a more interesting and worthwhile person. To have experienced all kinds of folks that make up this world.

Sometimes I realize that I really only seem to know people very much like myself, economically, politically, mentally, socially, philosophically. And sometimes it makes me sad. It would be good for me to experience more differences.