My aunt Sheila with 9 of her brothers and sisters.
As a speech-language pathologist working in a school, 10% of the students I see were born with Down Syndrome. I love the kids, and I love their parents. My aunt Sheila, now in her forties, was born with Down Syndrome too. One of twelve kids, my grandparents, dad, aunts and uncles, recognized Sheila for who she was, and is - another indispensable member of our family, with her own inborn set of strengths and weaknesses. Sheila is adored by our family, as are the kids I work with who have Down Syndrome by theirs. Why do I even feel the need to write that out? Shouldn't it be a given? It should, but in Europe and the United States, when a prenatal screening identifies a child as having Down Syndrome, that child is aborted 92% of the time! Now believe me, I have an idea of the unique challenges parents and families of kids and adults with Down Syndrome face; but we're talking about human beings - my aunt, the little boy I'm building sentences with, the girl who is now communicating with her mom through sign language. These people that I love are survivors of a genocide, a silent genocide taking place all around us. We need to speak up and expose it for the atrocity it is.