Tag Archives: Down Syndrome

Rethinking Perfection

A few links for you today featuring parents who accepted an unexpected diagnosis and experienced unforeseen love and joy.

There are two videos with fathers talking about their child who has a disability. This father is a well-liked and respected teacher who he shares his story about his son with his students every year.

If you didn’t see this one last fall about a perfectionist dad who is transformed by his daughter with Down Syndrome, it is absolutely worth watching. As a comment below the video says, it should be required viewing for all parents told they are expecting a child with Down Syndrome.

This week, a story that speaks to the power of ultrasounds was published about a young couple glad to have been able to hold their baby in their arms:

The couple were offered the chance to terminate the baby at 24-weeks.

But despite his poor prognosis, being able to watch her son in real time 3D scans during the screening tests, Miss Rowe said she was astonished to see him smiling, blowing bubbles, kicking and waving his arms.

She said: ‘Despite all the awful things I was being told, while he was inside me his quality of life looked to be wonderful and no different to any other baby’s, he was a joy to watch.

‘I was told he would never walk or talk yet the scans showed him constantly wriggling and moving.

‘As I watched I knew that while I was carrying him he still had a quality of life and it was my duty as a mother to protect that no matter how long he had left, he deserved to live.

Finally, what a great idea! Changing the Face of Beauty promotes using individuals with disabilities in advertising.  The pictures are fantastic, and it’s about time our definition of beauty became more inclusive.

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Down Syndrome and Abortion

by Elizabeth Tanguay

The latest fad these days in obstetrics is the Integrated Prenatal Screening test (IPS). Doctors may offer this screening, a combination of blood tests and nuchal translucency ultrasound, for neural tube defects and chromosomal anomalies to pregnant women over the age of 35. These tests can detect the probability of the fetus having spina bifida or Down syndrome. If the chance is greater than 1/200, the screen is considered positive and the parents are then offered further testing, such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, which carry a small risk to the fetus. After this, if the fetus is deemed to have Down syndrome, or trisomy 18 or trisomy 13, the obstetrician will offer the parents the option to terminate the pregnancy. There is no real prenatal cure or treatment for Down syndrome, or trisomy 18 or trisomy 13 or spina bifida, except perhaps later in the pregnancy and in utero, which wouldn’t cure the problem, but would perhaps treat some of the heart, nerve and other organ defects. The reason obstetricians and family doctors offer this treatment so early is to give the parents a chance to abort.

Isn’t it strange, that in this post-Nazi, post-World War II age, in times when we have equal opportunity employers, disability benefits, special parking places for people with a disability, the Special Olympics and the Paralympics, that 90% of children with Down syndrome are aborted? Our modern, tolerant society that says that people with a disability are gifts to society would rather kill them than allow them to be born. This is a classic example of modern eugenics at work, as well as the consumer society we live in. We need to understand that children are not products to be consumed, items to purchase, the latest “thing” you must have: they are gifts, loaned to us for a short time to bring joy, laughter, simplicity, and wonder to the world.

But why would we want to rid the world of children with Down syndrome? The number of people who know a person with Down syndrome is decreasing, but those of us who know them can attest to their gentleness, sensitivity, friendliness, and their genuine love for other people. Parents of these children say that the whole family learns so much more from this child with a disability than they could ever imagine. A lesson we all need to learn is that those with genetic differences have just as much of a right to experience life, love and happiness as anyone else.

Check out these excellent articles written by Canadian parents of children who have Down Syndrome:
There’s no such thing as the perfect child
Our daughter’s Down syndrome has taken us on a beautiful journey
Adoption of children with Down syndrome is also increasingly popular: A demand for Down’s
Another great, touching article by the father of a man who has Down Syndrome.