Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 for 21: Day 10 Ten Things to Avoid to Say to New Parents

The National Down Syndrome Society explains there will be challenges in raising a child with Down syndrome, but there will also be many, many joys. It’s normal to be nervous about what lies ahead, but Down syndrome is a condition the baby has, it is not who the baby is. For family and friends, basic education about Down syndrome will diminish unsavory interactions for new parents and produce greater support.
Ten things to avoid saying to new parents:
10. “You are special people.”
Parents of kids with disabilities are typical. They do well one day and fail the next. They do not want to be on a pedestal.
9. “People with Down syndrome are always happy.”
According to the National Association for Down syndrome the most important fact to know about individuals with Down syndrome is that they are more like others than they are different. No one is happy all the time.
8. “Is it because of your age?”
Statistics point to more moms having children with Down syndrome under the age of thirty-five because women are starting families at a younger age.
7. “Maybe the child will grow out of it.”
Down syndrome is a genetic condition. It is not a disease or a sickness. Interventions and medical care help individuals with Down syndrome live full lives.
6. “Will you have more children?”
New parents are acclimating to a diagnosis. Don’t hurl them into the future with personal questions.
5. “Is he/she high functioning?”
Individuals with Down syndrome have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. It is unrealistic and unfair to put newborns in boxes of functionality.
4. “She does not look like she has Down syndrome. Are you sure?”
Results of Down syndrome are absolute through a simple blood test.
3. “Did you know ahead of time?”
Pre-Natal screening is a hot topic with Down syndrome. Again quoting the National Association for Down Syndrome: ‘Two types of procedures are available to pregnant women: screening tests and diagnostic tests. The screening tests estimate the risk of the baby having Down syndrome. Diagnostic tests tell whether or not the baby actually has Down syndrome.’ Educated decisions regarding tests are vital but also personal.
2. “It could be worse.”
Processing a new diagnosis is valid. Award parents time to adjust to a different kind of normal for their family with love and support.
1. ‘I’m sorry’ or any statements of pity.
A child has not died. Condolences are not warranted. New parents want the excitement that comes with a new baby. ‘Congratulations’ is an appropriate response.

This post was published years ago by Examiner
I have actually got #4 a lot and it drives me crazy…


Becky said...

Great post...I think I have had most of them! :)

Laura said...

Great information! Like Becky, I've heard many of them too!

lovemy3 said...

Great post...I get 10, 9, 8, 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1!

Leah said...

These well-meaning things are said all the time. Interesting how we may have even said them ourselves before we were in this position. You often can't see how words will make someone feel if the situation isn't close enough. I am excited to come across your blog through a comment on the Hailey Herald. Your girls are gorgeous and I look forward to reading more!

Jenny said...

Excellent post! Ya, I had almost all of these things said to me when Russell was born...I can't even say which ones bothered me the most, they all felt equally painful to hear.