Aside from that extra little genetic material, people who have Down syndrome are more like the rest of us than not.
“We’re more alike than different” is the campaign slogan of the National Down Syndrome Congress.
It’s true. Many people with Down syndrome work, go to college, ride the bus, get married, and read blogs, etc.
But in the early years, it’s not easy to stop noticing how my son who has Down syndrome differs from his peers. I find myself checking my son’s lagging development compared to the children of friends who were pregnant at the same time as I or even those who delivered much, much later.
Certainly, it’s lovely to see my friends’ toddlers at birthday parties and in Facebook photos. They run around, eat ice cream cones, sing their ABCs.
My own nephew was born four days after Raphael, and he is huge, and fast, and talkative. He does all the things we once expected our child would do at two years old.
It takes awhile for shattered expectations to stop making themselves known.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sad, and I don’t harbor ill feelings. I just notice a lot; distinctions are made for noticing. And those extra genes yield plenty of distinction.
Like people with Down syndrome, parents of children who have special needs are more like the rest of us than not. And also, not so much.
In honor of Down syndrome awareness month, I am trying to post to this blog every day for 31 days (or at least 31 times in October) to increase awareness of Trisomy 21, the most common genetic condition that causes the syndrome.