Friday, October 14, 2011

Pet Peeves

It REALLY bugs me...

1. When someone refers to my daughter as a Down syndrome girl
Addison is a person first- so please change the order to your sentence. She is a girl WITH Down syndrome. NOT a Down syndrome girl. See the difference? It may seem small and insignificant to you, but to me it means a lot that you're recognizing her as a person first- syndrome second.

2. When says that Addison is Downs. It is called Down syndrome (capitol D, lowercase s) NOT Downs. This type of slanging up of Down syndrome is actually rather offensive. And she HAS Down is not what she IS.

3. When someone replaces the word stupid or idiot with the word retard(ed)
Part of Down syndrome is mental retardation. It is an actual medical label that means that there will be some mental slowness. It does NOT mean stupid or idiot. To see people flippantly use that word in their everyday vocabulary in that context hurts more than I can say because to me it seems like you're calling my daughter stupid or an idiot. You  may not mean it that way, but that is the way it comes across. Please just take the word retard(ed) OUT of your vocabulary (unless you're referring to the medical condition). It is NOT something to joke around with. #ExtremelyOffensive

4. When someone assumes that Addison's personality is a certain way because of her diagnosis.
"Oh, she must always be happy."
She is a toddler and has the same ups and downs as any other 2 year old...temper tantrum manipulations...angry fits...I promise. Don't assume her personality to be a certain way because Down syndrome does NOT define who she is- it is just a small part of her.

5. When someone refers to Addison as a "they" or "them". She is a little girl- unique in her own way.

6. When someone lowers their expectations for Addison's life accomplishments because she has Down syndrome. Someone asked me the other day if she would EVER be able to walk. YES YES YES. She will do everything that a "normal" child will do- just on a delayed schedule. There's no holding this little girl back and I refuse to peghole her into a category of unachievement because of ignorant stereotypes.
Those are the pet peeves that come to mind immediately. I'm sure I'll think of more and add to this list as time goes on.

But please. Educate yourself and don't make the mistake of offending when you're just trying to be nice and converse about Addison or someone else with Down syndrome. It makes a HUGE difference.

(please don't sit there kicking yourself if you have ever made one of these mistakes to us...I promise I don't hold it against you...just please, if you find yourself falling into any of these traps, make some small changes to your vocabulary and I know we can still be great friends) (-:


  1. I'm sure all of these can be very frustrating for you. And I think you have hit the nail on the head, people just aren't well educated on the subject. I hope more people heed your request and get out there and really try to educate themselves!

  2. I love the gentle education reminder, but mostly I'm stuck on the last photo. Precious!

  3. That last photo just melted my heart into a little puddle. And thanks for the reminders. You are completely right.

  4. Great list of pet peeves. Your #4 is at the top of my list. I'll tell anyone, just spend one day with my daughter and you will never say "They are always so happy" again. . .

    Love, love, love the last picture. Daddy's Girl!

  5. I adore that last photo of Addison with her daddy. So sweet.

    Thank you for the reminders. I have a 5 year old little guy who is beginning to see the differences in the people around him. I will keep these in mind!

  6. I hear you. We families with a loved one on the autism spectrum can have similar experiences.

  7. Love the last picture, too! I must comment by apologizing as I actually fell into one of your pet peeve categories, not because I don't know (as I am very sensitive to others being a school counselor) but likely because I was typing fast while my 3 little ones were trying to catch my attention (which is what I should've been doing anyway!). Sorry if I offended you, I do enjoy reading your blog and hearing about your sweet family.

  8. I am very passionate about people speaking correctly about Russell too. There are certain things we do not go around saying anymore about people's races, religions, or sexual orientation, and now we need to stop the slang and jokes about special needs and Down syndrome.

    Great post Deanna!! And I too, adored that last photo!!

  9. Forgive those of us who have had a lot to learn. I still slip and say Downs syndrome instead of Down syndrome at times. Please know that just because we don't always say everything correctly - we still love the person.

  10. You are such an awesome mom. :) And I have been meaning to leave a comment after all the pics in the last few posts - So. Cute. !

  11. I couldn't agree with you more.I think you have to consider people's intentions as well. There are so many
    syndromes and disorders that affect
    people. I am forever hearing people
    say " I'm so OCD about this and that..."
    If such individuals had or lived with anyone with OCD, they wouldn't express themselves in that manner. OCD is a debilitating mental disorder that can truly devastate a person and their family. Unfortunately it not what most people think. It is not about being overly neat or orderly. It is having relentless,unwanted compulsive thoughts that force an individual to have obsessive behaviors. Sometimes those behaviors
    are centered around order and neatness but typically it is obtrusive thoughts that are followed by a particular behavior only to be followed by the obtrusive thought again. This vicious thought pattern is never ending and disrupts a person's life to the point they can not function. It is totally beyond their control. I know I live with three loved ones who have it. I guess we all just need to learn and have a better understanding of what some people experience and that will enable us to express ourselves better.

  12. love it! Well said. If you don't mind, I would love to link your blog in my next post. This is exactly how I feel and would love to let people know that I am not being a winch, and that it does bother others. :)

  13. Good words to hear.

    That last photo is the sweetest thing.

  14. I refuse to say the "R" word, or let others do the same. I am sensitive to that word, not only because it sound so ugly, but because my niece has Down syndrome as well. I do not want her referred to (or lumped into that category) because someone is using that word so flippantly. I am also a teacher. When I hear my someone in my class use that word for the first time each year, I stop whatever I am doing and have a talk about that word. (I teach 5th graders). Later in the year, they will say "Mrs.S, so and so just said the "R" Word. I love teaching my class new vocabulary, but I always love removing that one word! Enjoyed this post!

  15. Ugh yes, agree with all this! I always model correct language. Some people seem to pick it up, some need seem to need correction.


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