Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 for 21 Blog Challenge: POST THIRTY: What Not To Say...

Things not to say:

“I’m sorry” or “How sad.”
Any statement that expresses pity is likely to offend. Instead of pity, offer congratulations.

“Down’s baby are really happy.”
This phrase is a double no-no. First off, don’t use phrases like “Down’s baby” or “Down’s kids”. Although it may feel a little awkward at first, it is very important that you always put the person first and the diagnosis second. Instead use the phrases “baby with Down syndrome” or “person with Down Syndrome."

The statement above also perpetuates a stereotype about people with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions like everybody else, and perpetuating stereotypes helps no one and may offend new parents.

“This baby is a blessing in disguise” or “You are a saint.”
The new parents may not be feeling particularly blessed or happy with God at the moment, and may not appreciate hearing that they were singled out. They also are likely to be experiencing some non-saint like emotions and many new parents just won’t find these sentiments helpful.

“I couldn’t do it” or “You are a better person than me.”
This situation isn’t about you, and the new parents shouldn’t be put in the position of having to reassure you! Also, statements such as these imply that the parents need special traits, that not everyone has, to raise a child with Down syndrome. It is much better to express faith in their abilities by saying things such as “I know that you can do this” rather than implying extra human abilities are needed.

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