If you are interested in reading about the condition known as Down syndrome, by now, you have probably read the definitions and history of Langdon Down's identification of the syndrome. You have probably read medial articles that explain the symptoms of Down syndrome, both physical and mental. You understand that the genetic condition causes significant developmental delays. You have probably seen pictures of both adults and children with DS.
But no investigation into the topic of Down syndrome is complete without delving into the actual lives of people and families who have been involved with a person who has Down syndrome, or meeting a few people who have the condition themselves. Viewing such folks on television does not count.
If you have a new baby who has been diagnosed with Downs, or have had prenatal testing that indicates that your child has Downs syndrome, do yourself a favor and find out what the condition means in the real world. When you find out what it is really like to live with a child or an adult who has Down syndrome, you will be better able to cope with the reality of the situation.
Clinical and educational information is all well and good, but does not thoroughly inform you.
First, read up on the subject. Read articles written by the parents of children with Down syndrome. Then, contact local organizations that can put you in touch with families affected by Down syndrome. Talk to the parents of children with this developmental disability. It may be very helpful to you to meet a person who actually has Downs syndrome.
Forty years ago, a family who had a new baby or young child with Downs was routinely encouraged to place the child in an institution. Today, prospective parents who receive the diagnosis through prenatal tests are often encouraged to abort the child. Both instances can be viewed as equally inhumane, in that the personhood of the child is not considered.
As medical technology has advanced, and society has advanced toward a more considerate appreciate and acceptance of differences and disabilities, the prospect of aborting a child with Down syndrome seems backward thinking and inhumane.
If you are pregnant and your doctor has suggested prenatal testing, go for it. Even if you are staunchly pro-life, the knowledge that you gain is valuable. Imagine, not having the tests, and suddenly being confronted with such a frightening diagnosis for you new baby. Chances are you would be shocked and confused.
But, if you are prepared ahead of time, you can research al the aspects of Downs syndrome so that you can greet your new baby without prejudice, without worry, or the feat that can be devastating without preparation.
Any child should be welcomed into the world with acceptance and joy. A new baby deserves unconditional love and should not be introduced to the world by anxious, fearful parents.