Monday, October 1, 2012

Is it still October 1st?

Do you know what October is?  It's Down syndrome awareness month!  Many years ago the lovely Ms. Tricia started a blogging challenge ~ 31 for 21.  The goal was to blog all 31 days in October for Trisomy 21.  This year Ms. Michelle has assumed hosting duties and, since I have nothing but time on my hands, I thought I'd give it another whirl.  

I'm off to a great start!  Only 11 minutes left in the first day of October and I'm already plagiarizing from my March 21 post (3-21, get it?).  Yes, we do get both a special day AND a whole month in dedication.  That what being extra special means.  

It's also a good excuse to bring cookies to the office and, since we've had an usual amount of turnover lately, a soft 'n fuzzy heads up for my new co-workers.   The soft 'n fuzzy part is a joke, by the way.  

An email to the office ~ 

     Subject:  October.... COOKIES!

Guess what?  October is Down syndrome awareness month!  I brought in cookies to celebrate & also to bribe you to read the rest of this. 

For all our new folks and anyone else who hasn’t noticed all the adorable photos at my desk, my daughter has Down syndrome. 

Quick factoids:
  • Ds is caused at conception - The cells don’t divide evenly, leaving the baby with a third copy of the 21st chromosome (hence the 3-21).  Biology lesson HERE for the geeks amongst you.
  • It was not caused by something I ate or, as one of our former co-workers asked, by mom’s bed rest while in situ.  No, I’m not kidding.  Someone really asked me that.
  • It’s not “sad” or a “tragedy”, and she does not “suffer from” Ds.  She has Ds.  Like some of you have (insert various medical diagnoses).
  • It did give her a wonky heart and she’ll have some learning delays but she’s a perfectly happy, curious, destructive little kid, like any 4 year old.
     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But, fair warning, I will take your head off if I hear you use the word retarded
For those of you who object to the language police:
  • It is not “just a word”.  Until recently it was used clinically to describe kids with learning delays, kids just like my daughter.  But then it was co-opted by 8 year olds on the playground trying malign other 8 year olds and fell out of favor.
  • None of you went to medical school, you aren’t using it in a clinical fashion, and no one ever drops it into conversation to describe rainbows & puppies.  It is as objectionable as any other word used derisively to describe entire populations.  If you don’t know which other words I’m talking about, I will happily give you examples… in front of witnesses.
  • Whatever not-bright thing you or your claimant did, it doesn’t compare.  Cognitive disabilities suck.  You don’t mock Alzheimer’s patients or war vets with head injuries [At least I hope you don’t].  It’s not OK to mock 4 year old little girls either.  Y’all are reasonably bright people - FIND A NEW WORD.
  • I recommend this one.  
  • Last - I suspect my daughter is going to hear it enough on the playground.  She doesn’t need to hear it from her mommy’s coworkers.  You wouldn’t tolerate anyone who made your kid cry either.
Cheers. Enjoy the cookies.

7 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT discussion of THE WORD.

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  2. Way to go, mama! Great email, cute cookies, you rock.

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  3. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach!!!

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  4. I love it! How did your coworkers respond?

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  5. I love this letter so so much.

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