A greater acceptance

24 Nov

“I don’t subscribe to the notion of the ‘perfect human being’ and found the idea of selecting one child in preference to another abhorrent.”

A survey by the Down’s Syndrome Association reports on how the parents of Down’s kids have elected to parent rather than abort their children in increasing numbers.

Following the introduction of screening for Down’s syndrome in 1989, the number of babies born with the condition steadily fell from 717 to just 594 at the start of this decade.

Since 2000 the birth rate has increased, reaching 749 births of children with Down’s syndrome by 2006, the latest year for which figures are available.

The increase is down to knowing somebody with Down’s, religious or anti-abortion beliefs feeling life had improved for people with Down’s. I ain’t going to get into a pro-life debate (I’m not, I’m pro-choice, end of.) but I am *immensely* encouraged to see that some parents can act rationally and with thoughts for their children first and foremost.

Initial results show that 25 per cent said they already knew people with Down’s syndrome or other disabilities and that had influenced their decision to continue with the pregnancy. Thirty-five per cent said they felt life and society had improved for people with Down’s syndrome. Surprisingly almost half of those questioned said they did not think they would have a child with Down’s syndrome and that’s why they continued.

Most respondents said they felt supported by their family and friends.

One respondent said: “I don’t subscribe to the notion of the ‘perfect human being’ and found the idea of selecting one child in preference to another abhorrent.”

Another said: “I already felt a strong sense of responsibility for my unborn child and knew that I would love it and want it regardless of any additional needs it might have. I knew I could count on friends and family for support.”

This would seem to be the winning mentality of the ethos espoused by the DSA, their aims being:

We provide information and support for people with Down’s syndrome, their families and carers, and the professionals who work with them.
We strive to improve knowledge of the condition.
We champion the rights of people with Down’s syndrome.

We can only hope that one day, the same sort of autism-friendly results come about. Certainly it won’t be any time soon if those who represent autism as a soulless condition in need of nothing but cure continue to prattle on in factless books.

More power to you all DS community.

7 Responses to “A greater acceptance”

  1. Patrick November 24, 2008 at 18:33 #

    Agreed, more help and a lot less HYPE are needed from those wishing to advocate.

  2. _Arthur November 24, 2008 at 22:30 #

    I was always puzzled by the disparity of the attitude between Down Syndrome parents and Autism parents.

    Both condition are not curable as such, but one stands good chance of (uneven) progress.

  3. Dedj November 24, 2008 at 23:02 #

    Not sure what you mean there arthur, people with autism can progress as well, in fact I believe the follow-up to the initial cohort indicated as such.

  4. RAJ November 25, 2008 at 00:53 #

    Recovery in autism is not only possible it is increasing:


  5. Kev November 25, 2008 at 15:53 #

    I’ve been swapping emails of late with the lead author of that study RAJ. I’m not sure they’re saying recovery is increasing.

  6. Joseph November 25, 2008 at 16:36 #

    It’s quite possible it is “increasing.” That’s to be expected as the age of diagnosis decreases, and the label becomes less stable.

  7. _Arthur November 29, 2008 at 05:10 #

    Dedj, you got me wrong, since since autism is characterized by a delay in development, making progress is the norm in autism.

    In other terms theres a sharp upper bound on what development Down children can aspire to, and there is no such bound with autistic children.

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