Down Syndrome

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Down Syndrome

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A Generational Shift in Understanding Life With Down Syndrome


When I was six, my friend Tom died. My Mum took me aside when I got home from school and explained that he had gone into the hospital for routine surgery but something had gone wrong. She said it was just as well that he had died. You see, Tom had Down syndrome.

I don't mean to slander my mother. Like my father, she thought this was humane and rational -- that we should not cling to life if that life is one of terrible suffering. She was repeating the conventional wisdom of the day, and that wisdom said that if you had Down syndrome, your life was not worth living. Others who ought to have known better were often worse. In the eyes of many doctors, children with Down syndrome…

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Last Updated : Tuesday, October 6, 2020