This morning I went to Google, typed in "Down Syndrome News" and waited the nanosecond it took for the search engine to present me with the results. My goal was to see, on World Down Syndrome Day, what I would find. I do things like this with expectations, here I expected to find an article on World Down Syndrome Day, but I didn't. Instead I found a story about a handsome 18 year old young man, described as a "kind hearted boy", who asked a young woman with Down Syndrome to the prom. There's a whack of pictures of him asking her and even a video to watch.
No question she was excited, and no question that it meant a lot to her. No question. The young man stated that, "They deserve everything that everyone else does too."
Naturally, everyone is quite ga-ga about this event.
The comments are interesting.
They are all about him.
Not about her.
She was the backdrop to the story.
She was the canvas upon which a scene was painted.
She was the mechanism used to tell a story about a boy and a stereotype.
In none of the stories, that I read, was she interviewed.
This is World Down Syndrome Day and I don't, and won't, spend it bashing 'good intentions' of 'kind hearted' boys. But I will state that, as we move forward, I want to see stories of people with Down Syndrome who are more than the means of furthering stereotypes. Good heavens, why does she need him to ask her to the prom, isn't it slightly possible that she might have a date already? I want to hear the voices of people with Down Syndrome, they are amazing voices and need only the microphone.
A spot on centre stage.
And a world that will look and listen and learn.
That's what I want on World Down Syndrome Day.