Part Two: Learning a little about Down syndrome

Today let’s start with the terminology.  Down syndrome.  Not Down’s or Down’s Syndrome (I was guilty of this).  There is no ‘s.  Down syndrome was named after John Langdon Down, the man who first described it.  He didn’t have the condition, so it is not a possessive form.  The word “syndrome” is not capitalized because it is not a proper noun.  Looking back at that paragraph, I think those last few sentences would have made my high school English teacher proud…

When speaking about someone with Down syndrome (or really any other disability) the “politically correct” way is to put the person first.  As in “our baby has Down syndrome”.  Not “we have a Down syndrome baby”.  This makes total sense to me.  It places more emphasis on the person and not the diagnosis, the way it should be.

And finally, to wrap-up our English lesson for the day, I wanted to mention another way that you may see Down syndrome referred to online – as initials – DS.  As with almost every word these days, there is some sort of an abbreviation.  (This seems to be the result of texting and e-mails).  If you are really familiar with blogging, message boards and other online forums you might also see the abbreviation “DS” used when referring to “darling son” as in someone’s son (child).  On this blog I will be writing about my “darling son (s)”, but you can assume that I’m referring to Down syndrome when using DS.  Hey, I’m just trying to save my fingers from typing out the extra letters and I wanted to make sure that you are in the know.

We’ll go ahead and end this lesson early.  I have plenty of other topics to cover in our “education series”, but I would also like to prove that I am capable of writing a short post.  :)

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2 thoughts on “Part Two: Learning a little about Down syndrome

  1. So very true. I actually thought that most of that terminology and politically correct stuff was silly and that people were being overly sensitive. . . . until Matthew arrived in our lives. It really does make a big difference – Our child is first and foremost Matthew, a beautiful and loved baby, who happens to have Down syndrome. When you call him a “Down’s kid,” it really does feel like you’re letting the diagnosis define him, or saying that’s all he is. He is so much more, and so is Charlie.

    . . . and I didn’t know the ‘s’ in syndrome wasn’t capitalized . . . thanks!!

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