“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ― Anne Frank
A couple of nights back, I posted a video on my Facebook account of Mia dancing to “Shake Your Sillies Out.” I love this song for kids. It is fun and it’s physical and they love it. We hadn’t really been singing it together for very long until she started to anticipate the movements, clap on cue, and then give me signals to request it. It’s sweet and I love it and she loves it. That song just reminds me of why I really love having kids.
Something has been bothering me for a while. It’s something that crops up when I teach Mia something new or kiss Fynn goodnight before bedtime. It might not be what you expect.
It’s only been fairly recently in the United States that children with Down syndrome aren’t automatically shuttered off to institutions. It’s only fairly recently that we’ve understood that people with Down syndrome can learn and succeed, even if it is on their own timetable. We have come quite a ways as a country when it comes to helping and supporting people with disabilities, but we still have a ways to go.
All of this is difficult and makes me push harder and want more for her.
But something keeps bothering me that I can’t shake. I can’t just not think about it. I think about it more every day.
There are parts of our world where children with Down syndrome are sent to institutions and are deemed “unteachable” – right now in the year 2013. When these children “age out” of orphanages, they are sent to adult mental institutions. They age out at four. They are sent to adult mental institutions at four years old. I can’t even type this without getting emotional.
How can this happen? How can it go on? How can this continue? I love my child, my children, so much that I can’t even imagine this kind of injustice. I want to scream and shout and do something, but I have no idea how to help. How do we stop this from happening? How do we save these kids from this fate?
I don’t know, but I do know this – the more people know that this is happening, the better. We can make it part of the conversation. Maybe we can do something about it.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ― Elie Wiesel
One organization trying to help: http://reecesrainbow.org