To the People Who Stare at My Child With Down Syndrome


To anyone who may ever stare at my child,

I hope you are staring because you think he is cute. Or funny. Or hitting his older brother like any other kid.

Experience tells me you may be staring because he looks different. He has Down syndrome and his almond shaped, ever-telling eyes, combined with other physical features give away this detail about him.

I hope when you stare it is not because you pity him or his family. I hope you are not trying to figure out ways to avoid him, or figure out how “smart” he is or isn’t.

Instead, I hope he reminds you of someone you know, or of your own family member, or someone you met in your past. I hope you stare because as you watch him, you are thinking of that person you know who has Down syndrome, and thinking of them makes you feel love and acceptance and understanding in a way you never knew existed before.

I hope in his almond-shaped eyes that sparkle as he giggles you see innocence. I anticipate as you listen to him speak you may take longer to understand his words, but I hope you know his words are always kind and loving.

If your child is staring at my child, I hope you don’t stop them. I hope they ask you about his almond-shaped eyes or why he uses sign language or talks different. And I hope you don’t discourage your child. I hope, instead, that you introduce yourself to us, because we love making new friends. My son could give a high-five long before he could say “mama,” and he would love to share one with your child. I love answering questions about Down syndrome and helping people learn about it.

Mostly, I hope you are staring because he makes you smile. He makes me smile all the time!

Follow this journey at Exit 43 Life.

 

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Down Syndrome

Photo collage. 1. Post open-heart surgery. 2. Smiling baby sitting on floor and tongue out. 3. Smiling baby with stickers for ng-tube on cheeks.

To My Daughter With Down Syndrome on Her 1st Birthday

Dear Hannah, You are a warrior. As I think back on all you have been through the first year of your life, I can’t help but be incredibly proud of you. You have endured more in your first year than most people ever have to endure in their entire lives; and you’ve done it all [...]

Is the World Ready for My Son With Down Syndrome?

On the heels of an announced snow day, I ushered my brood downstairs and flipped on the news. Through the hustle and bustle of changing diapers and picking up tossed food, I breezed by the television and spotted a baby with Down syndrome. As with any time I see a person with Down syndrome, I [...]
Baby Lucas Warren Gerber Baby

Parents Say Gerber Has a History of Denying Insurance to Babies With Down Syndrome

Lucas Warren, an 18-month-old with Down syndrome from Dalton, Georgia, is baby food brand Gerber’s newest “spokesbaby.” On Wednesday, Gerber announced Warren had won its signature photo contest. While some people praise Gerber for inclusivity and the positive strides towards awareness and acceptance, many parents of children with Down syndrome feel this was purely a marketing move [...]
Baby Lucas Warren Gerber Baby

Why Having a Gerber Baby With Down Syndrome Matters

Sometimes the news isn’t as straightforward as it’s made to seem. Ellen Stumbo, The Mighty’s Parenting Editor, explains what to keep in mind if you see this topic or similar stories in your newsfeed. This is The Mighty Takeaway. On Wednesday, Gerber announced Lucas Warren the winner of its yearly photo contest. Lucus is the first [...]