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 syndrome...it 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."
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) (-: