Mirabel Ruby blessed our lives on January 15th, 2010. She is a sweet, beautiful, bright-eyed little girl, who joined her older sisters Eryn and Luciya to make our family complete. Mirabel has Down syndrome, and her diagnosis is why we have dedicated this blog to her. It is a lovely and challenging learning process, and we are excited to celebrate her and see her life unfold.
Some great bits of information from the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association's publication:
The correct name of the diagnosis is Down syndrome. There is no apostrophe (Down). The "s" in syndrome is not capitalized (syndrome).
An individual with Down syndrome is an individual first and foremost. The emphasis should be on the person, not the disability. A person with Down syndrome ha many other qualities and attributes that can be used to describe them. So, encourage people to use people-first language: "The person with Down syndrome," not "the Down syndrome person." A person with Down syndrome is not "a Downs."
Words can create barriers. Recognize that a child is "a child with Down syndrome," or that an adult is "an adult with Down syndrome." Children with Down syndrome grow into adults with Down syndrome; they do not remain eternal children. Adults enjoy companionship with other adults.
It is important to use the correct terminology. A person "has" Down syndrome, rather than "suffers from," "is a victim of," "is diseased with," or "afflicted by."
Each person has his/her own unique strengths, capabilities, and talents. Try not to use the cliches that are so common when describing an individual with Down syndrome. To assume all people have the same characteristics or abilities is demeaning. Also, it reinforces the stereotype that "all people with Down syndrome are the same."
Adopt preferred language. Because of the negative uses of the word "retard" that have become common in our society, "cognitive disability" or "intellectual disability" is preferred over "mentally retarded." Also, "typically developing" or "typical" is preferred over "normal."