Contributing author to Gifts : Chapter 8

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Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

The Gifts Outreach program provides complimentary copies of Gifts to organizations which serve parents facing a new diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child, either prenatally or postnatally. We believe that the stories in the book provide a vital companionship and support for such parents.

2008 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA): Gold Award

2008 Mom's Choice Awards: Silver Recipient, Special & Exceptional Needs

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Down Syndrome Indiana Statement on Inclusion and use of the “R” Word

In response to the friends and family of those at Down Syndrome Indiana, the Executive Committee of Down Syndrome Indiana has issued a statement on the organization’s stance on inclusion and the use of the “R” word:

Down Syndrome Indiana Statement on Inclusion and use of the “R” Word
(August 13, 2008)

Down Syndrome Indiana is committed to supporting individuals with Down syndrome throughout their lifetime by promoting self advocacy, inclusion and participation in the community and increasing positive public awareness.

Down Syndrome Indiana will use this unfortunate event, the premier of the movie, Tropic Thunder, to bring attention to the larger issues at hand. Those issues are inclusion of individuals with disabilities, especially those with Down syndrome and the eradication of hate speech or the use of the “R” word.

As an organization, we support and encourage our families to write to their local papers and let them know that the “R” word is offensive, hurtful and considered hate speech. We encourage families to write to local school officials to let them know that with the release of the film, Tropical Thunder, students may come to school wearing merchandise that has the word, “retard” on it. We believe that this hurtful language is offensive and has no place in schools. We request that school officials do not allow this merchandise to be worn.

The release of the movie shows how much real work needs to be done to make sure that individuals with Down syndrome are included in society. The resources of this organization will be put to use focusing on the major issues of inclusion and people first language and the support of our self advocates during this hurtful time.

Down Syndrome Indiana supports the larger Down syndrome community as well as the larger disability rights community. We therefore strive to work with and support other organizations to promote inclusion and positive portrayal of individuals with disabilities.

Following the issuance of this statement, Down Syndrome Indiana will provide talking points that can be used when writing to local school administrators or local editors. What we do not want to do at this time is promote the movie. We want to promote inclusion and the eradication of hate speech.


AZ Chapman said...

Oh Jan I hope that Nash had a great day today please tell me how it went. I hope he come home talking about how much fun he had a recess instead of the other way around,