Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Child First

I am MAD. Steaming, hot-potato angry. Teeth-gritting, fist-pounding MAD.

Here's the latest ignorant question from a well-meaning person, and the incredibly stupid answer. (paraphrased, because I deleted the link in disgust)

Q: I am a fifth-grade teacher, and one of my students, a girl with Down syndrome, displays an inappropriate fondness for older boys and men. I'm wondering if inappropriate sexual attention is a symptom of Down syndrome and how can I help this little girl?

A: Unfortunately, sexual acting out is common with mentally retarded kids and hopefully it's a phase. Other than that I can't help you.

Can we just say GRRRRRRRRRRRR!?!

First, "inappropriate sexual attention" is not a SYMPTOM of Down syndrome. More likely, it's a result of this poor child getting abused in some way. Kids and people with intellectual disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse of all kinds. (Including the abuse of widespread misinformation.)

Teacher, I know you didn't know, and I'm glad you asked. I just wish you would have asked a more reputable source. Here's another source. And another. Scroll down and read the part about sexual abuse.

Second, to the person who answered the question in an incredibly discriminatory, uninformed, and decidedly unhelpful way, PLEASE, for the sake of us all, if you don't know what you are talking about, SHUT UP. You are spreading lies, myths, and misinformation based on prejudices and discrimination.

This hurts my child and all others like her.

She is a functioning, normal member of society, and I don't appreciate you tearing that down, causing people to think differently about her.

I'm sorry if that was rude of me, but I don't care. Just because a child has Down syndrome doesn't mean they are not a child. They are CHILDREN FIRST, not a condition, disease, or group of symptoms.

Look closer, teacher. Your student is more like the others than you ever imagined.


Rebecca Talley said...

It's people like them that make me want to scream and then protect my son from them. What a stupid thing to say.

WE need to teach the world the truth.

Shelli said...

Great sources, Nikki. It looks like parents with kids with Down syndrome face the same challenges all the rest of us parents face in teaching our children about sexuality and keeping them safe from predators. I'm glad you spoke out on the issue.

RK said...

Hi Nikki, Just wanted to give you this link It has links in it to the slideshows that I did for Braska's letter and number practice.

Thanks for asking! :o)

Nikki~Down syndrome Storyteller said...

Thanks, RK!