Friday, October 28, 2011

31 for 21: News to Me

Today Vada and I stopped at a local restaurant to pick up some lunch to go. I placed my order and moved out of the way for others who were waiting to do the same. We were standing next to a table of three older ladies, all of them ohh'd and ahh'd over Vada and then one asked her age. After offering her own guess of seven months I answered with Vada's correct age and a polite smile. A few seconds later Vada began to sign for milk. I talk to Vada like I talk to anyone and told her that she could have milk when we got home. As I was saying this to her I over heard the same lady who had guessed Vada's age say something that made me want to rip her a new one! The lady said "that's how they see, backwards."

Let me explain something. Vada does the sign for milk first by clinching her hands into tiny fists with her fingers facing outwards or down. If she doesn't get a response she turns her hands towards herself to look at what she is doing and then she shoves those tiny hands of her into your face to make sure your paying attention  That's what these ladies were seeing. They were watching a very smart baby rechecking her signs to make sure she was expressing her wants correctly. What the lady told her friends was that because V has Down syndrome she sees things backwards.

I didn't say anything to them. Truthfully, I had no idea what to say. I gave a condescending look as if I were saying she was dumber than a box of rocks and she stopped her know all speech of how backwards individuals with Down syndrome actually are. Seriously, where do people get these "facts"? If this is true, its news to me.

I was talking with some close friends the other day about Down syndrome. (I love talking about Down syndrome with others btw, I love when people feel comfortable enough to ask me questions.) Anyway, I told them that sometimes in my writing I may come off overly sensitive when in fact it takes a lot to hurt or offend me in reference to Down syndrome and that's because I love my daughter and I know how foolish people can be both in ignorance and in their innocence. However, its comments like these, the really off of the wall bull shit comments that not only get me going but also make me feel sorry for the people who are saying them, they are really missing out on great things.

I wish that I would have known what to say when I heard this woman pull this bit of knowledge from her butt, but I didn't and maybe saying nothing was a good choice. I may have done more harm than good at the time.

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