Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 for 21: DAY 11 :: Unlocking Potential

It irritates me when people underestimate my son's abilities.  Not that this happens often or anything, but it has happened, and I am sure it will happen again.  Because Jack has Down syndrome, his speech is delayed in comparison to typically developing children, and others have difficulty understanding what he is trying to communicate (through either speech or sign language).  It is an unfortunate truth that when people cannot understand someone's speech, they tend to underestimate that person's abilities.  This is sad, but so, so true.  And, it is one of the things that is most difficult on parents of children with cognitive delays.  It is particularly difficult when I know that Jack is indeed a very bright and intelligent little boy with LOTS of things to say and do. 

He just happens to say and do things in a different way than most others.  
It's not that he can't.

Down Syndrome Fact of the Day #11:

People with Down syndrome do not have severe cognitive delays.

The truth is most people with Down syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate.  Moreover, according to many professionals, IQ is not even an adequate measure of the functional status of people with Down syndrome.  Individuals with Down syndrome have great potential if given adequate opportunities and support.

We know that Jack is incredibly smart and has unlimited potential that we cannot wait to unlock as he grows and develops further.  The greatest thing anyone can ever do for an individual with a physical or cognitive disability is to cultivate and celebrate their strengths, and challenge them to reach all of their goals, no matter how lofty they may seem.  We know Jack can do anything he wants to do.  He just may need a little more help and support to do so. 

"I would never underestimate you. 
Can you return the favor?"

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