Meet Quinn Mennes: Quinn is 6 years old and attends The Rise School of Houston, a preschool for kids with special needs and their siblings. He loves music, ketchup, animals, ketchup, his brother and sister, The Lion King, Batman, and ketchup. He hates when there’s no ketchup. He is currently learning to read in preparation for Kindergarten next year at Field Elementary in The Heights, where he’ll be fully-included with his peers in the regular classroom.
Many people don’t really understand what down syndrome is. Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome present at birth. This extra genetic material manifests itself in a number of ways, most notably in cognitive delays, recognizable physical characteristics, and a high social and emotional intelligence. Down syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans and exists across all races and classes. It is estimated that one out of every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome also comes with a higher prevalence of health problems, namely congenital heart disease, leukemia and lymphoma, hearing loss and thyroid disorders. Luckily for us, Quinn only had minor hearing loss and some breathing issues, all of which were corrected with surgery when he was younger.
A lot of people think that people with down symdrome can’t do things like normal kids do, but they can do the same things you can do. The old stereotypes are fading as more and more individuals with Ds are integrated into the community instead of institutionalized, like in past generations. Individuals with Ds can read, write, attend college, get married, and hold jobs. They can be athletes, artists, musicians, and professionals. While it may take them longer to reach certain milestones, with proper intervention and parental guidance and support, children with Down syndrome can and will reach the same goals that typically-developing children attain. So don’t discount my kid just yet, and include him and others like him into our community.
“Down syndrome” is not an adjective. Quinn is not a “Down syndrome baby” or a “Downs kid.” He is a child/person with Down syndrome. It does not define him. Also, please stop using the word “retard.” When you use that word to describe someone else or their behavior, you’re basically saying that they’ve chosen to do something stupid that deserves to be insulted. This word isn’t used with any positive connotation. It’s an insult, a joke, and a way to point out others’ bad choices. But what you’re really doing is taking away my son’s worth. You’re suggesting that my son is foolish since you’re equating his disability to someone else’s foolish behavior. Not cool. Information supplied by Quinn’s mom, English teacher Megan Mennes