13 Things Never to Say to the Mom of a Child With Down Syndrome

Rant 168

Riley People can say some of the most hurtful things to one another. Think you've heard some truly awful stuff? Try being the parent of a child with Down syndrome.

Babies with Down syndrome are born with 47 chromosomes instead of 46, and the severity of their symptoms varies. But there are some pretty common physical signs that accompany Down syndrome, and that opens these kids -- and their parents -- up to everything from rude staring to downright cruel comments.

Sadly, some people don't even realize they're being offensive!

The Stir asked the parents of some children with Down syndrome to share some of the ridiculous comments they hear most often about their beautiful babies. If you've ever said anything on the list, consider this your notice not to say it again!

More from The Stir: Mom Creates 'Dolls for Downs' Because Every Kid 'Deserves a Best Friend'

1. Oh, he looks so normal -- Normal as opposed to what?

2. I'm so sorry -- "What the hell are they sorry for?" asks Jennifer Lister, mom of little Riley, who refers to her daughter's condition as "Up syndrome." "For not being blessed themselves with a child who has UP syndrome?"

3. What's wrong with her face? -- Nothing! She was born that way!

4. She doesn't even look Downs -- Kids with DS aren't carbon copies of one another!

5. They don't live very long, do they? -- Actually, medicine and science have come a long way. According to the National Institutes of Health, "Although many children have physical and mental limitations, they can live independent and productive lives well into adulthood."

6. I hate being told my daughter can grow up to be a Wal-Mart greeter.

7. What is going to happen to her when you die?

8. I hate hearing people telling me what they think he will and won't be able to do in the future when he isn't even a year old yet!

9. I find the Down syndrome stereotype ridiculous, that DS people are kind, loving, and gentle. Not my daughter. She is strong willed, defiant, and kind of a brat. Oh, and her teachers have called her manipulative from a very early age. Although I love her just the same!

10. I had someone ask me if I was going to have my son fixed so he wouldn't have kids.

11. When my child was in Newborn Care, another mother told me I was really lucky because Down syndrome babies are so placid. I am lucky, but not for that reason!

12. Did you consider abortion?

13. One doctor asked us if we wanted our daughter to have plastic surgery on her face.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've heard about a beautiful Down syndrome kid?


Image via Jennifer Lister

baby first year, special needs


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katboo01 katboo01

#6 is just downright rude and despicable.  I cannot believe someone would actually say that.

LostS... LostSoul88

If my child had down syndrome and and of those were said that person would be on their ass with a broken nose.  I have worked with DS children and they are so wonderful and loving, they work harder then any "normal" person I have came across. 

Irela... Ireland69

some people are so ignorant! How would they like it if they had a child or a grand kid with DS? all kids are a blessing.  Just some grow up to be idiots! (adults making these comments)

Tracys2 Tracys2

Wow- I was checking because one of my neighbours has a son with DS but I can't really imagine accidentally saying any of those things!

Rando... Randomlady

these are all downright rude and I can't believe they have actually been spoken multiple times by many different strangers. To the comment about them growing up to be a wal-mart greeter, who's to say that their child won't grow up to be that disability or not?

Stubb... StubbsHope

OMG to #10. How dare someone ask that!!!

nonmember avatar dana

What's wrong with number 11? That mother was saying shes lucky and just saying babies with downs tends to be quiet. Why is that bad? I wouldn't be offended.

nonmember avatar Helen

I used to work for people with downs. Most of them are nice and kind, but some of them are down right mean, aggressive and indeed, bratty. They can also be manipulative. They may be slow learners, but that doesn't mean they won't try to con people. They are just like everyone else with personality flaws and all.

Susan Haney Henry

I had some old bat tell me "kids like him" should be in a special home. I told her he IS in a special home. Mine.

Mothe... MotherGrace

Wow. I don't have a child with DS and I'm offended for all the parents that do. I cannot believe the words that come out of some people's mouths.

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