There are many misconceptions about people with Down Syndrome. It’s high time we tackled some of them.
Independent life with DS
It is widely believed that people with Down Syndrome can’t lead independent lives. That they are a burden to their families from birth to early death. This is an untrue and very hurtful belief.
The truth is, contemporary medicine and a shift in social attitudes towards DS allowed people with Down Syndrome to lead normal lives. When the inhumane practice of locking children with DS in institutions ended and the science researched new ways to help them develop, people with Down Syndrome finally received a chance to live just like everyone else.
Walking and reading
Some people still believe that having DS renders a person unable to walk or read. Of course, children with DS may need physiotherapy in early childhood to help them develop their motor skills to their full extent, but otherwise there is nothing that can stop them from walking, even on a runway, or participating in Special Olympics.
Reading is also not an issue, as long as a child with DS has dedicated teachers and patient parents. But that is true for any child, really. Some learn to read faster. Some learn at a slower rate.
It is complete nonsense that adults with DS die young. Average life expectancy is about 60 years, and some have lived to reach the ripe age of 80.
Down Syndrome is not a sentence. It is not only possible, but even necessary, to lead a normal life with DS.