Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We've already had our wonderful turkey dinner, and now the boys, dad and Grandma are playing cards.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving today!

Imagination and the WWE

Stephen has quite an imagination, thanks to his younger brother who has introduced him to a whole world of things!  One of them is the World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE for short...   He has several wrestling rings and figures...  This is what I found one day when I walked in his room. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Speech about the Dangerous Myths of Down Syndrome

The following is a speech prepared by the 14 year old daughter of one of my friends that lives in Texas.  Such insight for a 14 year old!

A Dangerous Mythology by Riley Moreno

Webster's Dictionary defines a 'myth' as a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; an unfounded or false notion.

Throughout history, people all over the world have made up myths to explain things they didn't understand or that frightened them. When we --modern, civilized Americans-- come across these myths in literature, they strike us as childish and illogical. Yet ironically, we cling to many modern myths without realizing it.

Hello. My name is Riley Moreno, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. Today I am going to counter three myths about Down syndrome. These myths are: first, that people with Down syndrome cannot form meaningful relationships; second, that people with Down syndrome can't grow and learn; and third, that people with Down syndrome can't contribute to society.

When I say the words "Down syndrome,' what do you think about first? It might be a set of facial features, or a certain way of talking. It might be the words "mental retardation." You might know someone with Downs, and might remember their warm smile and friendly nature.

Most myths are harmless. But myths about Down syndrome are deadly. Each year, 90% of the parents who find out through prenatal testing that their baby will be born with Downs end up believing these myths and choosing abortion.

Think about it: our society condones--even encourages-- the extermination of a whole group of people based on their genetic make-up, due to a genetic variation that is "neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable."* The media calls it a cure. But when Hitler did this, it was called genocide.

If you have heard me speak about Down syndrome before, you've probably heard me talk about my little brother. I've talked to many people about what a blessing he has been to me and our family, and how I've come to realize Down syndrome is just another kind of normal.

But today, I'm going to take a chance. I'm going to get bold. In the past, I've spoken about the 90% abortion rate. Today, I'm going to lay the blame on a society that has decided to take the easy way out.

What does this society find so threatening about Down syndrome? I'll tell you what I think it is: I think it's because we live in a desposable society, where things that are seen as broken are discarded. The world doesn't see people with Downs as different, but as broken, so they throw them away. Just like a broken shovel or pencil. Get rid of the broken one. It is worthless. It is without value.

But these aren't things: they aren't tools or pencils. They are human beings.

We can easily determine the value of a pencil. I can buy a whole box of them at Target for about $2. But how do you determine the value of a person? I'll tell you how the world determines it. the world determines value based on some idea of perfection. The closer you are to that ideal, the more value you have.

My concept of the value of a human being comes from a divine Creator. But realizing that the whole world doesn't agree with me, let me propose some more concrete criteria.

How do we decide the value of a person? Could we base it, in part, on relationships? Women are often told that a child with Downs won't be able to form meaningful relationships. THIS IS THE FIRST MYTH THAT I WOULD LIKE TO CHALLENGE.

Let me tell you the story of a young man named Sterling. He lives at a ranch for people with cognitive disabilities like Down syndrome. He has tons of friends on the ranch, and he loves working with the animals. But Sterling has one special relationship. He's engaged. He met his fiancee shortly after he was born, when she was already a year old. As he tells it, he likes older women! Sterling can't wait until the day that he and the love of his life stand up in church, in front of their families, their friends, an God, to become husband and wife.

NOW FOR MYTH NUMBER 2. How about personal growth? That's certainly something society places a high value on. Can a person with limited intellectual abilities really grow and learn? I wish I could introduce you to Lisa Smith, a young woman with Down syndrome that goes to my church. She wanted more than anything else to sing in the choir, but she knew that her voice wasn't good enough. So Lisa learned American Sign Language, and started participating in the music ministry in that way. That small step led to a career doing sign interpretation for popular Christian singer Sandi Patti on the Women of Faith tour. Lisa has even performed on national television!

So we've established that people with Downs can have meaningful relationships and that they can learn and grow. That's fine, but we live in a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" society. Can these individuals contribute anything to the world around them?

I can't tell you how many stories I've heard from people, telling me how their lives were blessed by knowing someone with Downs. At a garage sale my family organized to raise money for Down syndrome awareness, we met a man named Henry. Henry worked for the Mexia State School, and he organized a choir made up of residents. While he was telling us his story, Henry started to cry. He told us that he had started out thinking about what a great thing HE was doing for the residents. But what he came to understand was that THEY had done much more for him. They had taught him lessons about faith and joy, about being who God made you and being your best. I'd call that a contribution.

I hope you will remember the the truths that I have spoken about today: That people with Down syndrome DO have meaningful relationships; that they DO learn and grow; and that they CAN contribute to society.

Until we stand up and declare war on the easy button; until we--and by we, I include myself-- say that a little hardship in life is what built the character of the generations before us, and that it should be embraced and cherished; until we realize that life isn't always about smooth sailing, that sometimes it's wind and waves and rapids, and that's what makes it an adventure; until that time, the myth will grow. It will grow, and continue to destroy lives, and rob the world of a precious, underappreciated resource: people with Down syndrome.

*Archbishop Chaput, Denver

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life

I found about this wonderful site today! 

About IDSC

The International Down Syndrome Coalition For Life began after a group of parents and professionals saw a need for a pro life group in the Down syndrome community.  We are a resource to those who are new to the world of Down syndrome.  We  offer support to  parents and professionals.  We are not here to dispense medical advice.   We recommend you find qualified medical care.

Our Mission Statement:
IDSC For Life is dedicated to promoting the dignity and respect for all individuals with Down syndrome, from conception and throughout life. We are a coalition that has worldwide representation. Our mission is to celebrate and enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as to ensure fair and accurate representation in the case of prenatal diagnosis. IDSC For Life will accomplish this mission by educating medical staff and families with a prenatal diagnosis as well as  offering current and up to date information.
IDSC does not have 501c3 status

Contact us:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For those in favor of genetic testing

For those people that are in favor of genetic testing, I say the following:

"I wish genetic testing to reveal birth defects would stop - there are many "normal" kids that lose their lives because of false positives, and many BEAUTIFUL children with Down Syndrome are destroyed. I encourage people that if they get tested, and have a positive test come back, PLEASE run, and not walk, to an organization in your area and get all the information you can. Meet with people who have Down Syndrome. It is NOT the death sentence for you that you think it is. These people have wonderful lives because they ARE wonderful! I have a 17 year old son who can run circles around any "normal" teen his age. He gives lots of love, AND he does so many things to help around the house, it could make your head spin! Everybody that works with him, loves him. You would deny your child that just because he would happen to be born with Down Syndrome? What if your parents aborted you because they knew you would have brown eyes and not blue? Your child does not choose to have Down Syndrome, but that does NOT make him any less of a human being. Matter of fact, it makes them a BETTER human being. Ask anybody that has a child with Down Syndrome, I'm positive they will tell you the same thing!"
Get Your Frappr GuestMap!
Powered by Platial