I'm a sucker for cute kids. Who isn't, right? But a little girl named Maddox McClintic is more than just your everyday adorable toddler. The 2-year-old with Down syndrome is quickly becoming the best reminder to the world that special needs kids are more than their diagnosis.
A clever (and now viral) video made by Maddox's mom, Jamie, specifically to teach a lesson to people who call her little girl a mongoloid or retard is striking a nerve with the special needs community. Through the now popular YouTube trick of flashing cards at the screen, Jamie McClintic explains that everything people assume about her daughter is wrong.
The video is too powerful not to share, but first, pop quiz time: when you hear the words "Down syndrome," what do you picture? A child with upward slanting eyes and a flattened nose? A child with diminished mental capacity? Or do you just picture a person? Period? Get ready to have your mind changed.
It's hard to say it better than that. Although the words on the McClintic family's website do it pretty well: "I am just like any other child, I am not fragile, I like to laugh, play, cry, and have all the same feelings, emotions, and desire for acceptance that you do. "
Trying to lump kids into one group because of their diagnosis is a pervasive problem in the special needs community, and it stretches much farther than any of us would expect. Last week when I shared a story right here on The Stir about a mother whose son has autism, I heard many moms of children on the spectrum voice frustrations with school districts that fail to realize that autism affects every kid differently!
If school professionals supposedly trained to work with kids don't know, the chance that these kids can get a fair shake from the general public is slim to none. And yet, that's why videos like the McClintic's are so important to share, why seeing Maddox's beautiful little face behind those words is so impactful. We need to start looking at these kids as just that: kids. Beautiful, wonderful, unique kids.
Tell us about the special needs kid in your life. What makes them so special TO YOU?
Image via McClintic Family/YouTube