I'm going to be 100% honest...before we had Hailey, I know I said things that weren't appropriate, I know I didn't put person first and I said the "r" word. I'm not going to make any excuses for myself. There is none. I am grateful that I have learned more over the last year than I have over the last 10. One very important lesson I have learned, is people first...every child, every person comes first...not their disability or their diagnosis. They have the same thoughts and feelings as others and deserve to be treated as you would want treated or how you would want your child treated.
Well now back to the topic on hand...what not to say:
- R-word. Please stop and think before you use it. Find another word...stupid, dumb, ignorant. Use a thesaurus if you are at a lost. Think of any other word!!!!
- "Special" parents...I'm not special. I'm an ordinary Midwest mom raising her three children. If I am special, it isn't the reason God gave us Hailey...Hailey has made me special. There is no explanation to why certain children are born with disabilities and others are not. I am certain it is not because I am "special".
- "She is here to teach us how to live life"...Hailey was not put on this world to be your teacher anymore than my boys were put here to teach us things. That is a huge weight for such a little girl to bear, don't you think. My daughter is here to live her life to the fullest and that is just what she is going to do! If she teaches us stuff along the way, that is just a bonus.
- I'm sorry...don't ever apologize for my daughter. I'm not sorry about her. Does her diagnosis bum me out sometimes? Yes, but Down syndrome is part of her. If she didn't have Down syndrome, she wouldn't be Hailey.
- Down's kid, Down syndrome kid, kids like them...Would you call a child with cancer, "the cancer kid"? Would you say "blind kid", "dumb kid"? How would you want your child spoken to or about? She is a child first...yes, she has Down syndrome. So please refer to her and her pals with extra chromosome as a child with Down syndrome. Or don't even mention it at all...she's just Hailey.
If you have questions about Hailey or Down syndrome, please feel free to ask. I always welcome an opportunity to pass along valid information about Down syndrome. And...in case you didn't pick up on it, I am very proud of my little girl and love to talk about her! (These are all repeats but cute none the less!)