What’s The Difference?

In the spirit of full disclosure I have in the past used the words ‘retarded’ and ‘mental’ to describe someone I found to be less than me. I think maybe even the word ‘tard’ has crossed my lips. Our family had a maiden aunt named Hazel who was deaf. We used to yell at her rather than talk to her in a normal tone of voice. If someone in our family asked “What?” in response to something they didn’t quite catch we would likely respond, “I said _______________, Hazel!” We were fucking hilarious.

Ward wrote last week about an incident that occurred where (an open letter from a pissed off dad) at a meeting someone made a joke about how dumb someone else was on the ‘Down syndrome scale’.

“How dumb on the Down syndrome scale?” I have never heard that expression – ever, ever, ever. It feels hostile . It feels personal.

There are moments that leave little impact in our lives and there are those that radicalize us. Consider me radicalized.

Recently, I was asked in a not offensive way why our blog has the tag line – the true-life adventures of an exceptional kid with Down syndrome and his middling parents… This person said “What makes him exceptional among other kids with Down syndrome?”

It never occurred to me that the word ‘exceptional’ referred to him having Down syndrome. The more I thought about that question in light of what happen at that meeting I came to a realization.

Thorin and all children with Down syndrome are ‘exceptional’ because they are here. They exist. They made it in a world where 90% of them are aborted. They survived the odds. They are The Exceptions.

I am pro-choice. I also hate that I have to tell you that. Being pro-choice means I support a women’s right to chose for any reason – incest, rape of any kind, poverty, because they are a teenager, they just don’t want to be pregnant, they hate kids, they don’t want to ruin their figure, etc, etc, etc and reluctantly I must add because their fetus tested positive for Down syndrome.

What I am not ‘Pro’ is that one reason 90% these children are going down the tubes is that someone  thinks it’s OK to make fun of how dumb and worthless they are and no one questions it.

This entry was posted in Adopting, By Notatypicalmom, Down syndrome, education, Inclusion, Marriage, Parenting, Rants, Special Needs by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a blogger, writer & social justice storyteller who unschools with her son. She also has a M.S.W. and was at various times a practicing social worker, documentary videographer and film festival director She is the author of Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald, Parents, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Follow her on Twitter @atypicalson and like her at Not Always Happy Facebook page. Email her: atypicalson@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “What’s The Difference?

  1. I just found your blog the other day (or maybe rediscovered it since my husband Will insists that he told me about it), and I have really been enjoying your perspective. This post is no exception!

  2. Kari, love your blog and your honesty! We have the best kids they are exceptional, they are a gift that we are so lucky to have! Has Thorin started school? How’s it going? Really want to get the kids together!

  3. All children are exceptional. Because they are. All people are. That person’s question exhibits an exceptionally narrow point of view on the concept of exceptions. He never read The Little Prince, where the Fox shares a secret about the exceptional Rose.

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