Monday, May 7, 2012

Seeing the gift of Down syndrome

"The world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome," George Will writes in a beautiful column about the joy, dignity, and bravery inherent in the lives of those with the congenital condition, as witnessed through the life of his son Jon.

Will's words stand in stark contrast to the current unsettling reality: 90 percent of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted.

From George Will:

When Jonathan Frederick Will was born 40 years ago — on May 4, 1972, his father’s 31st birthday — the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome was about 20 years. That is understandable.

The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns. Not doing so was, however, still considered an acceptable choice for parents who might prefer to institutionalize or put up for adoption children thought to have necessarily bleak futures. Whether warehoused or just allowed to languish from lack of stimulation and attention, people with Down syndrome, not given early and continuing interventions, were generally thought to be incapable of living well, and hence usually did not live as long as they could have...Continue reading HERE.

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