Blog #181~Iceland and Down syndrome
Last week CBS News ran a story about Down syndrome in Iceland. The CBS report opens like this:
“With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.”
“On 14 August 2017, CBS News ran a segment for their program “CBSN: On Assignment” in which correspondent Elaine Quijano traveled to Iceland to report on that country’s disappearing incidence of Down syndrome. Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women — close to 100 percent — who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.”
To view the story click here:
I’m going to throw my two cents in about this news story. This week’s blog is not a debate about a moral decision of whether to choose to have a baby with Down syndrome. It’s not my place to comment if someone decides to terminate a pregnancy for whatever reason. I can only speak from own experience of having a child with Down syndrome. My son Nick is 23 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.
There are 3 comments that I would like to make regarding this news story:
*1. Expectant parents should first do their research first and get the facts. Doctors often know little about Down syndrome beyond their own medical experience. The delivery of news about the possibility of a baby having Down syndrome is often delivered grimly and with pity. This was the case in my son. I would like to see the medical community and society to become more educated on Down syndrome. When you know the facts, you can make an informed decision that is not based on fear.
Here are a few good places to get the facts about Down syndrome:
*2. Down syndrome in and of itself, is nothing to fear. Yes, there are health issues associated with Down syndrome. Click here to view: http://www.ndss.org/Resources/Health-Care/Associated-Conditions/
A baby with Down syndrome may take a little longer to reach developmental milestones. But, with early intervention with physical, occupational and speech therapy can guide a baby/child with Down syndrome to hit those marks. Sometimes, we fear what we don’t know or understand. When you get educated about the facts, it will help to reduce the fear.
*3. Society needs to see more of what Down syndrome looks like. Persons with Down syndrome are people first! “The Emmy winning A&E show, Born this Way follows a group of seven young adults born with Down syndrome as they pursue their passions and lifelong dreams, explore friendships, romantic relationships and work, all while defying society’s expectations.” I wish the whole world could have access to this great show! Click here for more information: http://www.aetv.com/shows/born-this-way
Another excellent site I highly recommend is Noah’s Dad! I’ve had the extreme pleasure of following Noah’s Dad and his journey with his son, who in entering first grade this year. He gives us a view of how full, and rich their lives are having Noah in it. You can find Noah’s Dad-Down Syndrome Awareness on Facebook and at http://noahsdad.com/
You can also follow my son, Nick on Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism, Instagram @nickdsautism and Twitter #tjunnerstall
Nick scuba diving in the Diveheart program……
Down syndrome is nothing to be feared once you know the facts, and see what the lives of these wonderful individuals are like. It has been a true privilege being Nick’s mom. He has taught me more about life, and made me a much better person in the process. I couldn’t imagine a world without people like Nick and others, who have Down syndrome. I’m 100% sure that anyone who has been touched by Nick, would say the same.
That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂