Monday, August 23, 2010

"A Down's Syndrome Boy" update

The audiologist whom I wrote to about the use of the term "Down's Syndrome boy" emailed me last week. It was an email thanking me for my letter and interesting and informative language guide, which was also shared with the audiologist's colleagues. The audiologist said, "I apologize for my word choices as they were not meant to offend you, your husband or Matthew." I replied, thanking her for her email and shared with her how we had to learn about using preferred language ourselves.

If we hadn't been close to someone who has Down syndrome, this would not be on our radar. We might have been using some no-no terminologies or common misstatements and unknowingly being offensive. We try to keep this in mind when offering this information to others. We would've probably been on the receiving end at some point in our lives if we didn't have Matthew.

We've only become accutely aware about specific terminologies when referring to individuals with a diagnosis of Down syndrome after Matthew was born. Because of Matthew, we are learning to be more sensitive about our choice of words in consideration for other people's feelings. We are discovering our own tolerance levels for what we find offensive in relation to Down syndrome.

The gift of awareness - one of the many gifts Matthew has given to us.

Related post:
"A Down's Syndrome Boy"


Meriah said...

My audiologist went to town with the 'down syndrome kids' and 'these kids' and my personal fave, 'down's baby'... I was pretty surprised that she didn't know better. Good on you for writing the letter!

Rochelle said...

Yeah that is such an awesome update. Keep being such great advocates!

Melissa said...

I love that your audiologist was so receptive to the language guide! I still need to write letters to some of Claire's drs. The procrastinator in me keeps winning out...

MaggieMae said...

WOW! What an awesome response. Where is your audiologist? I'm willing to travel for such open-mindedness.