More alike than different. That’s the theme of a campaign started by the National Down Syndrome Congress several years ago. I like it. It acts as a reminder that people with Down Syndrome are people, not a diagnosis. It points out some of the reasoning behind people-first language (saying “a child with Down Syndrome” NOT “a Down Syndrome child”). I hope it makes people stop and think that maybe the outward appearance of some differences are small and insignificant. Hopefully it makes people realize that if they took two seconds to be observant, they’d see a person that is just like them. More alike, less different. And if they see that, it will be good. They’ll have seen truth. They’ll have seen a person instead of diagnosis. Win.
There is one small thing that bothers me though. The whole thing implies that being different is not good, that being alike is better. I guess that depends what you’re being the same as, but I do know that being different does not equal being wrong, or less than. I also know that a diagnosis of Down Syndrome truly does not make you that much “different” but, if it did, why would we care? Why should that be bad? It’s cliche but true – this world would be pretty boring if we were all the same.
I have five kids. I can tell you that each one of them is vastly different from the next. I can also tell you that my two children with special needs are just as different from each other as the three typical kids. Never have I though, “wow, she’s different because she has Down Syndrome” or “cerebral palsy sure does make her different.” Sounds silly when you say it like that; right? I never even think about my daughter having Down Syndrome. She’s just E. She’s awesome and giggly and has the best facial expressions. She’s cuddly and sweet and loves to be outside. She’s my easiest child, my best sleeper, and in the words of my 5 year old “our most adorable kid”. So if this is what “different” looks like or if this is what “alike” looks like, I don’t really care. Just give me more. It rocks.