The National Down Syndrome Congress'(NDSC) More Alike Than Different project and the National Down Syndrome Society's (NDSS) My Great Story project are nation-wide awareness campaigns that underscore the fact that individuals with Down syndrome possess the same social, emotional, and educational needs as their peers. Having the opportunity to be educated in their neighborhood schools allows individuals with Down syndrome to develop strong bonds with those who will later be their coworkers, neighbors, and friends. With continued integration comes a deeper understanding that the strengths of individuals with Down syndrome are underestimated by most. As more opportunities open in education and career fields we see capability, not disability. Being welcomed into social and recreational groups that may not have been receptive 10 years ago has not only enhanced the lives of individuals with Down syndrome, but also the lives of their peers.
Myth: People With Down Syndrome Have Severe Cognitive Delays
Standard IQ tests do not measure many important areas of intelligence, and you will often be surprised by the memory, insight, creativity, and cleverness of many with Down syndrome. The high rates of learning disabilities in students with Down syndrome often mask a range of abilities and talents. Clearly, educators and researchers are still discovering the full educational potential of people with Down syndrome.
Throughout the country there are many shining examples of young adults with Down syndrome that are graduating from high-school, attending college, living independently and making their communities a better place to live. DSAOC has several self-advocates that serve on committees and are part of our Speakers Bureau.
Myth: Adults With Down Syndrome Are Unemployable
Businesses are seeking young adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are being employed in small and medium sized offices, by banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels, and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, and in the computer industry. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability, and dedication.
Myth: People With Down Syndrome Are Always Happy
People with Down syndrome have feelings just like everyone else in the population. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior.
Myth: Adults With Down Syndrome Are Unable To Form Close Relationships Leading to Marriage
People with Down syndrome want the same things out of life as we do. They want friendships and opportunities to date and socialize. They want to form on-going relationships with other individuals with disabilities, as well as those without. Some get married and enjoy a rich family life, while some stay single and enjoy activities with friends.
Myth: Individuals With Down Syndrome Are Stubborn
A student with Down syndrome may not be able to tell you how they feel or may be unable to readily change mental gears when offered new information or direction. This can lead to the false perception that they are being "stubborn." Behavior is communication - individuals with Down syndrome typically face challenges with both receptive and expressive language. By implementing strategies to increase communication, this perceived behavior can be greatly reduced.
Myth: There Are No Effective Treatments For Health Issues Related to Down Syndrome
Research on Down syndrome is making great strides in identifying the genes on chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Scientists now feel strongly that, in the future, it will be possible to improve, correct, or prevent many of the health conditions associated with Down syndrome.
Myth: Children With Down Syndrome Will Never Grow Up To Be Independent
There are now many more opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome to participate in aspects of community life: education, recreation, employment, social, and family life. As the move towards community integration continues, we see more supports and services being developed that allow adults with Down syndrome to live on their own, with friends or on college campuses. Some individuals are even buying their own homes with their own money!
Myth: Having A Sibling With Down Syndrome Will Be A Hardship For "Typical" Children In The Family
Most families report that their "typical" kids are more compassionate, patient, and tolerant of all people because of their experience of having a sibling with Down syndrome. The sibling relationship is generally a typical one - full of love, occasional arguments, and just being together.