By Tony Joy
Often times we are made to nurture the feelings of hate, fear and dejection. We are either left at the mercies of others with little or no care given us. In fact, some parents would rather curse the day they gave us to mother earth than keep us as theirs. Some have even gone as far as forgetting us in gutters so as not to face the trauma of having to take care of us. Some say we are nothing but an abomination and a shame to the family and not worth the money.
They have always wondered why we have decreased or poor muscle tone, short neck, with excess skin at the back of our neck, flattened facial profile and nose, small heads, ears and mouth, upward slanting eyes, often with a skin fold that comes out from upper eyelids and cover the inner corner of our eyes, white spots on the coloured part of our eyes, wide and short hands with short fingers and a deep groove between the first and second toes. Some disregard us because we have short attention span, poor judgment, impulse behaviours, slow learning and delayed language and speech development. They keep us forever down because we are down with Down syndrome. Some of my friends who are autistic have been made to suffer the pains of isolation just like us.
They have been made to suffer for their significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills such as eye-to-eye gazing; failure to establish friendships with children of the same age, lack of interest in sharing interests and achievements with other people, lack of empathy, delay in or lack of learning to talk, problem taking steps to start a conversation, stereotyped and repetitive use of language and difficulty in understanding their listener’s perspectives.
May I kindly ask, did we ask for this condition from birth? Are we conscious of what we are doing right now? Do you think if we have the opportunity we would not change how we feel and what we do? Are we pleased that we cannot talk or that some of us cannot control our dropping mouths?
This is the reality; we were born with a disability we cannot control. So why do you keep trying to cure us, when you know it is an innate disability. Yes! Some of you have taken us to churches to pray, yet are still the same; we are not under any curse you need to know. It is just a disability. Some have dejected us as their children, yet some others have taken us up and worked with and on us. Rather than show us love, some have constantly bothered our moments of silence with the noise of cars and crowds looking for a place to make the miracle happen.
Please understand us, we never planned to make this happen, it is just a disability. So don’t try and cure us but teach us, show us love and understand us. Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy and other disabilities are not diseases.
Tony Joy, Communications and Fund Raising Officer,
Kids & Teens Resource Centre.
Facilitator, Octolinks Craft.
Change Agent/Peace Ambassador. J.Tony@kidsnteensng.org
You are too Valuable to be Wasted” – Tony Joy