Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Magical Chromosomes???

When I was getting ready to go the the periodontist this morning (yay! not:), I heard a piece on the News about "Tim's Place", a restaurant in Albuquerque, NM.  This was one of those "feel good" pieces you sometimes hear on the news.  The hook concerning Tim's place is that the owners' son, Tim, has Down Syndrome and offers free hugs to all of his customers.  He is evidently at over 32,000 and counting.

Now, while I think this is a great concept and I would certainly go to Tim's for the camaraderie and one of his famous hugs, I kind of resented what the news commentators were saying about Tim.  Evidently they felt that Tim was so loving and friendly because of that mysterious extra chromosome he just happens to have.  You know, that extra friendly, loving chromosome.

I resent this supposition because it seems to be saying that the addition of a single chromosome automatically means that you are going to be a loving, happy individual.  There is no respect for the individual himself.  No respect for how his family nurtured him and raised him or how his life experiences manifested themselves on his personality.  In short, you are basically saying he has no control, no self determination on the kind of person he is or will be.  Ouch!  That's pretty condescending.

Personally, as a teacher, I know some kids with Down Syndrome who can be kind of cranky, even spoiled!  Horrors, that would mean they could be just as wonderful and awful as any other kid.  That would also mean that if they are horrible, it doesn't mean that every child with Down Syndrome is horrible.

No two persons with DS is any more alike than any two persons without it.  Yes, there are some medical issues and learning styles that are more common with individuals with DS, but there are other people without DS who have some of these same medical issues and learning styles.

 Stop using that broad brush people!