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!
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