What do you think of when you hear the words Down’s syndrome? Be honest. What’s the first thing that pops into your head? Whatever it is, that’s likely to be your dominant thought about Down’s syndrome. And that’s fine. Our thoughts, our views, our perspective depends upon our positioning and our experience.
Four people can be on the same mountain but all see different things: one is at the top looking down, one is near the bottom looking up, one is by the cliff edge feeling scared, one is in the forest trying to find the right path; all standing on and looking at the same mountain, but all with different experiences.
It’s likely that the next time any of those people think of a mountain trip, they’ll remember their past experience and what they saw and felt then. But there are many mountains, many paths and many different views.
It can be like that with Down’s syndrome, or any disability for that matter. Just imagine, as a parent, you get all the support you need, a great husband / wife, midwife, paediatrician, Portage worker, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, teaching assistant, teacher, headteacher, social worker, college principal, doctor, careers adviser, employer, neighbour, bus driver, family member……
They’re all great. Your path might look quite straightforward, you might soon be dancing on the top of the mountain. Looking at the view. Breathing in the air. Having a picnic.
Imagine the path for the person who has a difficult time with any one of that group of people.
Or maybe two of those people….
Maybe they’re having a tough time with most of those people…
Their path is not so easy. They can’t even see up the mountain for all the times they’re up at the cliff face, sliding back down with every effort to move forward.
That can be lonely…
That can be difficult…
That can be just too much and so they give up…
So let’s all remember there are many mountains. Many paths. Many experiences. Many perspectives.
If you are going through a tough time, if you’re on a path seemingly going nowhere, if you can’t see what’s round the next corner or beyond the next plateau, if the fog has closed in, it doesn’t mean that there is not a beautiful view, it just means you haven’t seen it yet. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it is not there. Allow others to guide you. Don’t try to navigate this path, this climb, on your own.
Equally, let’s not stand and watch as others need a helping hand or a guiding light. Let us be there to help one another through the difficult times, for they come to us all at some time or another.
But equally, let us not deny the stunning, beautiful view that exists when we climb higher. Let us not deny others the opportunity to have their eyes opened and their lives enriched beyond measure.
The climb may be tough but my eyes have seen colours I never knew existed. My feet have danced to tunes not heard before, my ears have heard singing that angels could only wish to echo.
What’s your perspective?