Thursday, October 5, 2017

Are People with Down syndrome Always Happy?

For this first week of Down syndrome awareness month, I'm touching on some common topics that frankly need revisited from time to time. So, let's talk about people with Down syndrome and the subject of happiness.

People often associate Down syndrome with pure happiness. There's nothing wrong with that association; it's a positive thing really. But it can be misleading.

People with Down syndrome have a full range of emotions. They can get upset, sad, fearful, angry, and happy. They experience every emotion like anyone else. I think if you watch the television series, Born This Way, you'll see that the young adults with Down syndrome certainly feel all sorts of emotions.

Sometimes, strangers will make comments like: "Oh she's so happy!"
"My relative has Down syndrome, and he's happy just like your daughter."
"Is she always that happy?"

These comments demonstrate to me how the general public perceives my child and her diagnosis. There are stereotypes associated with Down syndrome and being happy is one of them.

Going on my own experiences with my daughter who is now 11, I'll say that it is true that she's generally happy. She does not have times when she's in a "bad mood" for an unknown reason. But, this doesn't mean she's always happy. She cries when grandma leaves her, because there can never be enough grandma time. She gets upset and worries when she hears her cousin is in the hospital. Turn her iPad off, and you will see anger my friend! You can watch fear and sadness flood over her when we pull up to a hospital or an emergency room. But, most of the time she is happy. That happiness is just one part of her emotions, but I'm thankful that she seems to enjoy her life.

It does seem that this is true for most people with Down syndrome. Research conducted by Brain Skotko and others found that 99% of people with Down syndrome over the age of 12 surveyed said they were happy with their lives.

Just like anyone else, being happy with your life doesn't mean there are no sad, angry, or fearful times. People with Down syndrome feel them all. That's another reason why advocates say that we are all more alike than different.

Check this site out every day in October for new content for Down syndrome awareness month. You can get updates on my blog's Facebook page too

1 comment:

  1. And it is a big reason - the advocates are right.

    I take that on evidence.


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