Friday, June 17, 2011

Down Syndrome and Mistreatment

A girl with Down syndrome was denied an airline ticket on British Airways simply because she has Down syndrome. This 12-year-old young woman attends a mainstream school, reads on grade level, and has traveled with her church group. But when her mother called to purchase a ticket from British Airways she was told her daughter could not travel.

Here's the link to the article

Of course, this article bothers me. It goes to show that as a people we aren't as advanced as we think we are when it comes to treatment of people with disabilities. Apparently, plenty of ignorance still abounds when it comes to Down syndrome.

Admittedly, there are those with DS who could not travel alone, but there are also people without DS who should not travel alone. Just because someone has DS doesn't necessarily mean they can't do something and to automatically assume so is wrong and cruel.

Julie Bellon reviewed my book on her blog. The review was awesome, but the story she shared about the young man with DS was absolutely wonderful. It gave me tears. If you want to read an inspiring blog post about DS read this one.

I think what bothers me the most about my son having DS is the way people, like this British Airways employee, will treat him. He's already been called "retarded" by a neighbor. My son has a speech delay and we're still working on potty-training, but he's a human being with feelings. He didn't ask to have an extra chromosome  He just wants to live his life. He may have other challenges down the road, but that doesn't make him less of a person.

I'd love to meet someone, anyone, who doesn't have at least one challenge in life. We all do. It's part of being human. Yet, because people with DS have challenges that are more visible some feel it acceptable to mistreat them for it.

I guess the real question is: why do we ever feel it acceptable to mistreat anyone?

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