Thursday, 4 October 2012

Lost is Found

Lots of mischief in that face!
Parents all over Australia held their breath yesterday, as the search for a little 4 year old boy, who happened to have Down Syndrome, went on for hours and hours. When I went to bed last night, he was still missing after being gone since lunch time. He had wandered off with his three dogs when his Mum was busy with a younger sibling. His clothes turned up on the beach late yesterday, and I was horrified to think that he may have drowned. To be honest, I went to bed thinking I would wake to news of his body being found in the water. This morning at around 7am, the little boy was found! He was cold and shaken, but otherwise unharmed. His dogs were still with him, and it was their barking which alerted the people out searching. What a relief!!

Proud to be walking so well.
This is the second time a child with Down Syndrome has left home with their dogs, and been found because the dogs were barking, in the past couple of months here in Australia. They don't call them 'man's best friend' for nothing! How incredible that these dogs knew to stay with the children even when they were probably cold and hungry as well. Anyone with a child with Down Syndrome who needs a good excuse to convince their partner that they need a dog? There you have it! :)    I know I'm thankful that Felix and our dogs get along so well. Hopefully he'll never need them like that, but I hope they would be just as loyal if anything like that ever did happen.

On a personal level, this story has heightened Nathan's and my awareness that sometimes our kids, with Down Syndrome, can tend to be 'escape artists' and 'runners'. We have heard it plenty of times, but never thought too much about it. After hearing about this little boy we have had a conversation about what we need to do, and what precautions we need to take, to make sure our house is more secure so Felix can't escape. He is getting more and more active by the day, and is very curious, so we're definitely going to have to keep a close eye on him in future.

Where is Felix?
One thing which was a little irritating about the news reports today, was the constant use of the term 'disabled boy' rather than 'boy with a disability'. I know it may seem trivial to some people, but news readers are expected to pronounce the names of world leaders correctly, and to know the pronunciation of all the different countries, but they fall short when it comes to using 'people first' language. After the success of the recent Paralympics, you would think this sort of terminology would have been addressed.

Tasting the sand
My other complaint is that the little boy was described as 'suffering' from Down Syndrome. People with Down Syndrome are not suffering. They may 'suffer' as a result of a health issue, but so do you and I. Their extra chromosome does not cause 'suffering'. Felix has certainly never suffered a day in his life because he has Down Syndrome; in fact, I'm pretty sure he's one of the least 'suffering people I know.

That brings me to today's fact about Down Syndrome. People with Down Syndrome are just that...People. They deserve to be recognised as people first, and disability after. Just as you wouldn't introduce your child as, "This is my Asthmatic son" or "This is my Dyslexic daughter", Felix will never be known as our "Down Syndrome son".   Instead, "This is Felix. He likes to sing songs and read his books. He also has Down Syndrome".

Just a funny little story about Felix today. We had the Pest Control people in to spray for white ants this morning. They explained to me that the machine they used would be a bit noisy, just in case it worried Felix. When they started it up Felix was reading a book, and sitting on Isaiah's lap. He looked up with wide eyes and started signing 'motorbike', and making his motorbike sound (which is a pop-pop noise). He was looking around everywhere to see where it was. So much for him being worried about the noise. He actually thought it was pretty great.

No comments:

Post a Comment