What it's like to be the parent of a child with a learning disability. The blog was created in 2005 and discusses anything to do with Down Syndrome

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The book, the audiobook & the podcast

Down's with the kids - The book / Audiobook / The podcast


Bias: Stan and the super-strength lager on the 263

On the bus, Stan met a man who identifies as a super-strength lager drinker. It was 9.45 in the morning. Are you jumping to conclusions, reader? Was this man, probably an expert-by-experience with street homeless issues, making a scene?

Well, no. Stan made a beeline for him and introduced himself. Before you knew it they were captivating the passengers with one of the most bizarre and entertaining conversations I've ever heard. 

Down's Mum reckons that Stan is different to many people because he doesn't have a biased bone in his body. Because of his learning disability, he doesn't know how to be prejudiced and that can be a fantastic thing. He was just born like that...

Back to the bus. The man didn't offer Stan any of his 7.5% proof booze but he did fish in his pocket and give Stan £1. I did that really middle-class thing and asked if he "was sure". Well, he was sure because he gave Stan the pound. Then he showed Stan his West Ham tattoo.

The other passengers were like the person on the train reading over your shoulder.  They couldn't take their eyes off the situation. And that's a good thing. Because here were two people connecting and perhaps, just perhaps, breaking down a few barriers. 


See also: Unconscious bias isn't just somebody else problem; it’s also yours. By Ossie Stuart, equality / diversity consultant


Monday, 24 July 2017

What's testing for Down's Syndrome got to do with Baywatch?

In Italy last week, a young man called Valeri Katoya saved a ten-year-old girl's life. The 17-year-old is reportedly a champion swimmer. The report looks like it's been translated so you don't get much information. But Valeri did save this girl's life. 



If this had been reported it to the English-speaking press, no doubt someone wouldn't have been able to resist the urge to describe this as a heart-rendering tale. If you've read any of my stuff before you'll know I have strong views on people prescribing an act of kindness / bravery / endeavour as 'inspiring' just because they find it so. 

And this was much more than heart-warming. He saved her life. And it made me think: we don't know the circumstances of Valeri's birth but let's assume that his parents might have been told that their baby wouldn't amount to much. Let's then assume they didn't go ahead with the pregnancy. Not only would Valeri not have gone on to be a champion swimmer and a lifesaver worthy of Baywatch, but that girl may well not be with us.

The next time someone discusses testing for Down's Syndrome, perhaps chuck Valeri's story into the mix. Because sometimes the value that we bring to life, as humans, is only realised in an unexpected manner. 

Related blog: How Stan contributes to society