Friday, June 24, 2005

Stacked Deck

I wanted to let that last post stand on its own for a little while before adding that I understand that I am part of the problem.

On a Down syndrome discussion board that I occasionally read, one mother was recounting her toddler's experience being tested by his future school district to determine his special education needs. He was mildly to moderately delayed in most areas, including gross motor, fine motor, speech, and cognition. But he was slightly ahead of developmental norms socially. No one was surprised by this. Kids with Down syndrome are often very social.

But that's not how we as a society measure success. We think of academic success, athletic success (Special Olympics doesn't "really" count), and professional success (money money money!). I buy into that. When I described all these "successful" people with Down syndrome, I talked about how well they've done in school, what they do professionally (for money!) and their athletic accomplishments. I'm sure that there are thousands of happy adults with Down syndrome who feel "successful" and who are beloved within their own communities, even if they never achieve material success the way we tend to define it in this culture.

8 comments:

none said...

Yes.

My son definitely changed the way I view "success" these days, but even so, I liked the last post, because it inspires me to read about the triumph of the human spirit against the odds, no matter in which way or how.

angie said...

Ellie is such an inspiration to me!! I have never met her, but I can tell from the things that you write that she is already achieving great things! I truly believe that every childs destiny is greatly determined by the parents belief in them. We have children with special needs, but we know they will do amazing things. They can feel the belief that we have, and they thrive off of that! Thanks so much for your posts....they really brighten my day!

PPB said...

great point.

Moreena said...

Wise words.
But I would never call you "part of the problem." I mean, you blog about Ellie's poop and pee and pottychair shenanigans with *some* dismay, but your pride in even these events is unmistakable. Obviously you are already there, accepting success as that which makes Ellie happy. We all have dreams about what we want our kids to be when they grow up, but I suspect that the reality is always better for those parents who have the right relationship with their children, college degree and fabulous job or not.

Siobhan said...

Sarahlynn, I really do love you, and it goes without saying that I adore Ellie. Happy blogiversary! (I miss you!)

Gosling said...

Hey Sarahlynn, I hope this doesn't have anything to do with my comment to your last blog entry! It didn't occur to me that you were equating success with academic achievement. I just loved Betty so and still appreciate her contribution in my life.

And, what Siobhan said about the missing. :(

Amazon

Sarahlynn said...

Thank you, Ciara and Angie!

Siobhan and Amazon, I miss you both too, and the communities we shared.

Amazon - no worries! This was part of what I wanted to say. :)

Easy said...

I just found your site--it was a convoluted path to be sure--but I will be back. I'm always looking for fellow bloggers from St Louis.

Rest assured that your child will enjoy life, and bring you just as much happiness and stress as a 'normal' child. My high school girlfriend had an older sister with Down's Syndrome. She was just wonderful.