If you haven't caught on already...World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st. I mean, I know I'm real subtle about it, but I just wanted to make sure you were aware. It's coming up.
Two things today: 1) How to show support through your Facebook Profile and 2) a little heads up about the preferred language for talking about Down Syndrome.
If we are friends on Facebook, you'll probably notice that I added a PicBadge back on March 1st. Through the WDSD group page, I was encouraged to add it for the month of March. While I totally understand not wanting to have it on your profile picture every day, I encourage you to keep this link handy so that on March 21st, you can add it to help raise awareness. Go here and follow the instructions on how to place it on your picture. It was completely painless and hassle-free.
On the NDSS website, they have a "Preferred Language Guide" that includes tips and corrections from the Down Syndrome community. While a lot of these things have yet to bother me, I have come across a lot of families who are really adamant about using the right language in reference to their family member. I'm trying to change the way I think about things simply because I want to respect those members of this community who find it offensive. It's the same as the r-word campaign. You might not find the word offensive, but why would you want to use a word that causes other people pain or made them feel disrespected?
From the list, I think the one most helpful to keep in mind is that people with Down Syndrome (and it is Down...not Down's) should be referred to as a person first. So, instead of saying a DS baby or a Down's child, say that they are a child WITH Down Syndrome. It's not a hard change to make and it helps remind us that they are a person first. We all know that our words have power, so think about making this change today. If not for you, than for the families in your community who want you to see their child/family member is someone who is more like you than they are different.
Have a good weekend!
NDSS and DSI have more tips about Preferred Language and ways to show your support!