Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Paywalls not withstanding

I really hope you can read newspaper article below. For much of his working life R was in the field of care for the mentally and physically disabled, mostly adults but some children. Some of the children were Downs. It is an area I have some knowledge of, via R.

Some people say, better that they died at birth. It never is. With the right care, the most severely disabled can have a reasonable life. At times in the '80s teenagers Damien and Aiden, Thalidomide victims, stayed with us for overnight stays at weekend. They were miniatures of what a teenage boys should be and totally dependent in every area, had virtually no voluntary movement, and if their brains worked normally, it must have been horrible for them. But I doubt their brains did work properly. Nevertheless they could express anger, frustration, sadness, and being teenage boys, arousal that made it difficult to get nappies on them at times. But what I remember most about them was their laughter and giggling.

At times we knew what was so funny, but often enough we did not know what they found so funny. They were, back then, in well funded government care and I reckon if you life involves some laughter, it is better that you did not die at birth. They both died before they reached the age of twenty. They laughed and made a difference to the world as here I am decades on fondly remembering them. Damien was dark haired and freckled and seemed cheeky in some way. Aiden was blond and angelic.

So if you can, have a read of this story from a mother of a girl with Downs at a Downs Syndrome conference in Glasgow, from The Age. I hope you are not geo blocked or paywall blocked.

https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/my-greta-finding-a-world-of-possibilities-20180830-p500os.html

10 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and inspiring article Andrew. Absolutely totally agree, all children are special and individual and deserve the love and best their parents and society can give them 💙💜

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    1. Grace, that should go without saying, but at times it just doesn't happen.

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  2. I've worked with a few mentally disabled adults, to get cats fixed. They seem to get it more than some allegedly full capacity people.

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    1. Strayer, yes, I suppose you would have. It is good to hear that they can be more sensible.

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  3. What an inspiring article as was the conference it was based on. That's an important lesson for us all to learn to dwell on what we can do and not what we can't.

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    1. I thought it was quite good Marie, and inspiring too.

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  4. I was a cleaner for a while at a facility that had mentally handicapped adults, mostly young and some were Down Syndrome. All were happy 99% of the time and I remember getting a hug from one of the girls because I "dried the toilets seats after cleaning them", she said she loved me.
    I didn't realise Thalidomide children could be mentally handicapped, I thought the problems were only physical.

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  5. That's nice River. Thalidomide was a shocker. Most, if not all, would be dead by now.

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  6. Having grown up with an older brother with Cerebral Palsy, it was very difficult for him and for the family. I held those feelings for many years, until I joined Weight Watchers and met two women with Downs Syndrome. They were wonderful and warm and loving. I learned so much from them. One of them has passed away now, but the other woman I still see regularly. I am so grateful.

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    1. Maribeth, that is a positive story about the two women. A bit sad about your brother though. It can be very tough for some, but the alternative??

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