If adults, seemingly advocating for the same ultimate goal, can't exhibit the qualities of acceptance, how can they expect others to hear their words?
Four very heavy, and complex words. It's no surprise that a diverse community made up of people with completely different perspectives on life would have different and sometimes divergent views on what they mean or how to achieve them.
Still, one basic fact remains: we all want the best life possible for our children.
Many times, I have asked myself what that means. Many times I have questioned the best path to take to get there. I do not proclaim to have all the answers. I do however, insist that I have a valid viewpoint. My experience is different than anyone else's. My perspective is limited by that experience. Because of this, I occasionally seek out other opinions and see if they offer something that I can incorporate into my way of thinking. I will consider all perspectives, but I will be more accepting of those that are offered in a way that does not diminish my own experience. I also try to live by this rule, offering my own opinion, critique, and discussion while maintaining a respect for others. I cringe every time I read where someone offers a "critical view," no matter how well researched or theorized, that asserts that someone else is "doing it wrong" or "dehumanizing" their own child by trying to raise awareness in their own way. Once those words are used, the person understandably tunes out. Once you resort to tactics that smack of bullying in order to present your point, the damage is done.
In my view, this is what we ultimately want for our children: that they be accepted for who they are. Their experience and way of thinking is valid, regardless of what others who aren't 'aware' proclaim.
Lively discussion and critical debate is important for change. We need to find ways to accomplish this without insulting people or dismissing their viewpoint because we think they "don't get it." The minute we dismiss someone or what they are saying because it doesn't fit in with our own agenda, we stoop to the level of the society we are trying to change: intolerant, exclusive, discriminating. At that point, why would anyone listen to what we are saying? How can anyone really accept or care about respecting people with IDs when the people who advocate for/with them are disrespectful to each other?
Everyone engaged in social justice for people who live with Down syndrome is doing so from a positive place; a place of helping, and caring. I just wish we could find a way to extend that courtesy to each other.
Our common cause should negate the other issues. To borrow a line.... "We are more alike than different."
Maybe we should all start practicing what we preach.