Becca is the proud mother of Arthur, a one-year-old boy with Down syndrome. Before she had Arthur, her knowledge about Down syndrome was limited.
“I thought I was considerate and appropriate in all the language I used, but once I sat on the other side of Arthur’s diagnosis, I realized how wrong I was,” she relates.
When quarantines hit, she had time to reflect on what her experience was like becoming a mother of a child with Down syndrome. She realized that many of those around her, however well-meaning they might be, used language that cast Down syndrome in a negative light. The subconscious assumptions of that language had even affected her own perceptions:
“I have realized that any issue I thought I had with Down’s Syndrome did not come from within me, it was the subconscious messages of everyday language that has constantly been fed to me, and is still being fed to me. Only with experience have I realized the extent of which – it is daily. From friends, consultants, health visitors, midwives and strangers.”
Becca felt strongly that Arthur – and all children and adults with Down syndrome – deserved better than that. How could she help those around her improve the way they spoke about her son, and other people with Down syndrome? In conjunction with her friends at Bear and Pear, Becca created a collection of digital cards and shared them on social media. Each card offers easy-to-read pointers about the language to use when discussing Down syndrome. Becca says:
“They are a resource for parents to use. I made them for me and my friends and my community, but now I hope they will be used by other parents, hospital staff, speech therapists, physiotherapists – everyone, anyone, who can then put them on their own social media or print them off in whatever format they may need to help share and inform.”
Check out her beautiful digital creations below – and more importantly, take their lessons to heart.
You can find the rest of the cards Becca created and learn more about her experience in this blog post.