Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why are we exterminating Down syndrome children if they can bring so much joy?

One of the cheerier stories to emerge from the World Cup in South Africa concerned the taciturn coach of the winning side, Spain. Vicente del Bosque’s 21-year-old second son Alvaro has Down syndrome. But the coach is immensely proud of him -- even though Alvaro has been highly critical of some of his decisions. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero made sure that Alvaro was invited to his official reception for the team to hold the World Cup trophy aloft. 

“At first we cried a lot,” del Bosque says about the days after Alvaro’s birth, “but now when I look back I think, we were so foolish.” 

The coach’s reaction is quite typical of the parents of Down syndrome children.  Despite significant health problems, they normally have a placid, loving disposition which often brings much consolation to parents. Some even say that their Down syndrome child is easier to raise than their other children. As a Harvard University expert, Dr Brian Skotko, puts it, “Parents who have children with DS have already found much richness in life with an extra chromosome.” READ MORE

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