We have a relative who persistently refers to Freddie, and anyone with Down’s Syndrome as ‘A Down’s’, as though she were talking about a different species, or a breed of dog. We’ve tried to tell her that this offends us, but she just will not take the hint. We cannot cut this person out of our lives, but she refuses to see what is wrong with her attitude, because it is so entrenched – it is the attitude she was brought up with. Her words and phrases betray the fact that she simply does not see people with Down’s Syndrome as being quite as ‘human’ as you and me.

THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.  The language we use to describe people with Down’s Syndrome, or any disability,  is one of the most important and powerful tools we can use in shaping how the world views them. We must discourage the use of words and phrases which make a differentiation between them and the rest of humanity. We must not define people by a condition they happen to have which is only one aspect of their lives.

My son is not ‘A Down’s’, he is not a ’47th Chromie’ — he is a little boy who loves puddles, picture books, baked beans and chips, his family, and the Gruffalo, and who also has Down’s Syndrome. He is part of the rich and diverse pattern of humankind that makes the world such an amazing place.

With thanks to the Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group for the photo at the beginning of this post.


2 thoughts on “MIND YOUR LANGUAGE.

  1. Freddie has Down Syndrome, but Down Syndrome does not have Freddie. I know many special needs families identify with this line of thought, present company included. Freddie will not be defined by Down Syndrome. I see an adorable blonde hair little boy that reminds me of my youngest brother. I also see an attitude similar to that of our four year old pixie Ava. I wish you many puddles Freddie. Thank you for adding your spark to the world.


    • One of Freddie’s favourite TV programmes features a character who uses a wheelchair. I always wondered if the actress herself was a wheelchair user, or just playing the part. I googled her and it turns out that the actress has a form of SMA. I’m glad they cast someone who really does use a chair, rather than a so-called “able-bodied” person just pretending. She’s fab!

      Liked by 1 person

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