3 Things a Mommy of Children with Down Syndrome Wants You to Know


When this blog post was originally written, person-first language was the generally preferred convention for speaking about disabilities. We realize that terminology changes over time and there is current discussion and advocacy for the use of identity-first language, particularly in some disability groups. At ABQ Mom, we always seek to use the language that reflects the inherent dignity and worth of all people. We also respect the rights of our writers to select their own terminology when telling their own stories and that is why person-first language remains in this blog post.

On March 21, the social media world will be flooded with pictures of feet in crazy socks. Who doesn’t love a good pair of crazy socks?

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. The date of 3/21 was chosen because people with Down Syndrome, or Trisomy 21, have a third copy of the 21st chromosome. People all over the world don their crazy socks to celebrate and bring awareness to Down Syndrome.

I am sure that I am not alone in sharing that I had many misconceptions about people with Down Syndrome. Now that has all changed.

3 Things a Mommy of Children with Down Syndrome Wants You to KnowI am the mommy to three children who happen to be rocking an extra chromosome. I am a part of the elite group called “the lucky few.” We are the lucky few that get to be mommies to these beautiful souls. These perfectly made little humans have taught me so many valuable lessons.

Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

As a whole, I want our community to know better, so we can do better when it comes to people who might seem different from us. You see, you probably have more in common with people with Down Syndrome than you might realize.

Here are some ways that we might “do better” when it comes to people with Down Syndrome:

1. Value the person

It is important when speaking about a person with any disability to use “person first” language. She is a little girl with Down Syndrome (not a Down Syndrome girl). Take time to truly see and learn about the person aside from them having Down Syndrome.

2. Assume competency

People with Down Syndrome understand so much. They are so very bright. They have a tendency to process slower, but they can and do understand what is going on around them. Treat them and talk to them just as you would anyone else their age.

3. Get comfortable

The world of disabilities can be a place of isolation. Model for your children how to be loving and accepting of everyone. Go talk to them. Smile and ask their name. Include them in what you’re doing.

I hope you will take time to evaluate how to “do better” the next time you meet someone with Down Syndrome. A great way to start is celebrating World Down Syndrome Day with us. Get those crazy socks out of your drawer and onto your feet on March 21!

About our Guest Author

Christy has lived in the Albuquerque area for 17 years. She is a wife of almost 21 years, a stay-at-home mom to 6 (soon-to-be 7) beautiful children ages 17 years to 6 years. She has a heart for people with Down Syndrome. Christy and her husband, Matthew, are parents to three children with Down Syndrome who were adopted internationally.

Originally published March 2019.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.