Open Thoughts on Doll’s For Down’s
While I know many of you will disagree with me, I simply have to write something about this issue of dolls that look like they have Down syndrome. This phenomenon surfaces every couple of years with regularity (so much so that I remember being asked to make a statement in the media about this toy when I was the Executive Director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, nearly four years ago.)
This is a link to a story explaining the Doll’s Doll’s for Downs
Here is the gist of what the CDSS advisory committee of people with Down sydrome said then and I still beleive now.
The existance of these kinds of dolls can perpetuate the notion that people with Down syndrome all look alike. Not every person with Down syndrome has almond shaped eyes, or a single palm crease, or an exaggerated space between thier toes, or a flattened nose bridge. While we are at it, here are some other well proven truths, they are not all affectionate, easy going or always a happy. Even what can be preceived as a positive stereotype can be devastating. If citizens with Down syndrome can be relegated to a few physicial characteristics or personality types, then it becomes easier to assume their goals in life must be the same, that they share the same interests, it becomes all too easy to create a single living arrangement, recreational “program” and destiny without getting to know people as individuals. Lets face it, it’s happened before, insitutional living, bowling, shortened life expectancey etc.
People with Down syndrome fall in every category on the personality spectrum, a lot like the rest of the worlds population. They are not angels, or spiritually enlightened, or put on the earth to teach the world something. They have always been part of the human family. There is nothing extraordinary about their existance on this earth. They are regular, multi-dimensional folks, searching out the same things in life as everyone else, acceptance, love, connection, fulfilment, and belonging-sound familiar?
Here is what I know to be true…People with Down syndrome look more like their siblings and parents than they do each other. Don’t EVER think you can know everything about someone by the way they look.