Monday, July 1, 2013

A little knowledge doesn't hurt.

There have been a lot of misconceptions about Gio because of his diagnosis. I know people aren't trying to be rude or ignorant either. Most people just don't know. I didn't know until I started doing research on it. I would have been one of those people asking weird questions because of what we think we know about Down Syndrome.

First off, I've noticed a lot of people say it "Down's Syndrome," just like I use to too. It actually isn't "Down's" it's just Down Syndrome. I'm not exactly sure where the other way of spelling it started.

Most people think that Down Syndrome is a rare disorder all together, but it isn't. An estimated 1 in every 700 babies are born with it. Around 350,000 people in the US alone have Down Syndrome right now. The only thing with Gio is the kind of Down Syndrome he has is rare, but Down Syndrome in general isn't.

Common thought is that only older women have children with Down Syndrome. Although your chances increase with age, it is more common among younger moms to have a child with Down Syndrome. The average age of mothers who have children with Down Syndrome is 28. I think that's why a lot of people think it's weird that Gio has Down Syndrome. I had him at 19, which caused a lot of skeptical comments.

Down Syndrome is not "curable." I think this is actually a little funny. Down Syndrome is not a disease, it isn't contagious, and you can't take medicine for it to go away. It is a genetic disorder which makes your body act a little different. There are medical conditions that are caused by it, which there are treatements for, but it alone is not a disease.

When you hear "Down Syndrome" you automatically think of a person with severe mental disabilities or mental retardation. You think of a person with a certain facial structure, and honestly you think of a person who talks funny and is dumb. This is not true at all. The assumption is that, because of the disability, people with Down Syndrome can only learn so much, but they can learn as much as you teach them. Some things may take longer, but they can learn it. They can hold jobs and they can be in "regular" classrooms. This is what I think scared our families the most about Gio having Down Syndrome. It sounds rude, but they thought it was a total lie because Gio isn't dumb. Neither are the majority of people with Down Syndrome. A lot of "normal" kids are not very smart either.

One of the questions I have heard is if Gio will ever marry. His dad even commented on how now I'll have Gio with me forever. Every mom wishes their kids don't grow up, but it isn't really what we want. We want to know we raised them well enough to be on their own and make a life for themselves. People with Down Syndrome get married and have children, this will especially apply to Gio since his diagnosis isn't severe, but even if it was he would still be able to make his own life.

I've kept hearing people say, "Well atleast that means he'll always be happy." WRONG. Now, I'm not saying that Gio isn't a happy child, he is as long as he is in his comfort zone. It sounds weird or maybe funny, but that's how it is. I finally got to be at a family party past 10 p.m. and it was all because I brought his Looney Tunes movie with us. It was easier to put it on for him to because we were at his grandma's house too (:. If we would have been at any other house he would have wanted me to stay there and watch it with him. Usually around 9 or 10 p.m. he has to be watching his movie. He throws huge fits when people try to hold him. He doesn't like being played with at certain times. He hates being in crowded places, besides the stores, I think it's because we are moving around, but even then we can't stay for long. He hates when I sit him down to eat. He doesn't like wearing new shoes for the first time. He has an attitude, and is a huge momma's boy. He's very sensitive too. So if Gio, who only has 22% Down Syndrome has a huge range of emotions it's safe to say anyone with Down Syndrome feels everything, not just happiness. It's just a much more simple lifestyle. We could learn from it. They don't care about brands or expensive things. They like what they like and that's all they need to be happy. Gio loves Looney Tunes, for example. A three hour long movie with episodes of all the different Looney Tunes characters makes Gio's day.

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