Friday, January 18, 2019

Special needs baby?

Dear readers,

Laksh is going to be 18 months old soon and for as long as I remember, people have always differentiated between our babies and typically growing babies. Even when people think they are saying something positive they end up saying things like, "they are happy kids", or "they give great hugs", etc. My question is what do you mean by 'they'? Are you comfortable with grouping all the babies in the world with down syndrome under one umbrella? In that case, you should also be comfortable grouping kids who do not have Down syndrome under one umbrella as well. But you won't. Because you are willing to see typically growing kids as individual kids with different personalities and different potential. So why not my son?

Why not all kids irrespective of their physical, cognitive, socio-economic, or racial differences? Why not all kids are seen for who they are individually and not grouped due to one factor alone? You realize how silly and unfair that sounds? How would it sound if people start grouping us based on say the color of our eyes? All blue eyed people can only do this one thing, and all brown eyed people can do this other thing but only people with green eyes can do whatever they want. Is this not discrimination? Does this not place limitations on kids? We all agree that children are the future and yet we are comfortable segregating and limiting a big chunk of them just because we are ignorant and refuse to learn. Why? I don't know what my son can accomplish, like I do not know what any other baby will. This is life. We are not God, that knows it all. We are each given a life to live it to our fullest potential. Who are you to hinder that growth? Who are you to make someone feel like they are not good enough?

Most studies that I read always mentions how parents, siblings, co workers, friends of people with Down syndrome feel their life has been enriched because of that fact. They are more happy and satisfied in life. People with Down syndrome are also happy with the way their life is. At the end of it, don't we all want to be happy in life? When given a choice between being twice as happy or twice as smart, most people end up choosing happy. Just think about it for a minute. On our death bed, would we want a life that was filled with happiness or life filled with diplomas after diplomas? I am not saying that adults with Down syndrome are not smart or that they will not get diplomas after diplomas (because they are smart and they are graduating college and getting jobs) but all I am saying is that we don't know what one person is capable of.

Next time when you come across a person who is different from you, don't assume but instead engage. Have a conversation and learn more. Everyone wants to be seen for who they are and not based on some stereotype. Everyone has special needs, needs that are special for them and to them. Unique needs. One should not be penalized based on that. Love everyone and be kind.

Thank you for reading

To the makers of the movie Mimi

First of all, I would like to thank you for opening the dialogue about Down syndrome in our Indian society.  Thank you for showing that a ch...