First, though I don't HAVE to explain anything to you, I will. My daughter (as you can see by this blog) has Down syndrome. What you CAN'T see are the hidden things. Like the stroke she had an an infant, or the complex partial seizures she has that cause sudden, unprovoked acts of aggression. I wish I'd come to you for advice, as you have all the answers. Slap her back and teach her a lesson. Wow, it's so simple! Now, if only hundreds of thousands of dollars hadn't been spent on neurologists, neurosugreons, neuropscyhiatrists, and behavior specialists. Clearly their education, degrees, and most of all experience and knowledge of the neurological problems my daughter has wasn't necessary. Wow...that's all she needed was a slap.
Now, turning 13, my daughter gets on stage, and addresses the very issues YOU think are a joke. I've listened to audiences audibly cringe when she talks about people using the very words you probably use every day, because they realize THEY are the guilty ones! I've watched a 10 year old boy, sitting between his parents, look at each of them and say, "You say that word all the time!" and watch their guilt-filled faces as they realize THEY are the ones my daughter is speaking to, and what an awful example they've set for their own children. My daughter, the horrible one who just needs a slap to straighten her out.
Now here's my gift to you. I'm going to PRAY that God blesses you the same way he blessed me. Some day you're going to be blessed with a niece, nephew, grandchild, or...even better...a child of your own, and as you hold that child and look into his eyes for the first time, you're going to listen to a doctor tell you, "Your child has Down syndrome" (or insert some other "hockey helmet" wearing disorder.) The words you use to describe children who have disabilities, and the attitude you hold about them, is going to come back to haunt you. There will come a day when the words you've used are going to be ringing so loudly in your ears, and you're going to wish you could take it all back.