Awhile back I forward on a wonderful post by a another mother of a precious little girl named, Rowenna. The blog talked about not referring to children with the diagnosis of Down Syndrome as “Downs Child” or “Down Child” or any other way where the diagnosis is the child and not something the child has.
Simply put, you wouldn’t call a child with chicken pox “Chicken Pox Kid”, an over weight woman as “Obese Woman” or a boy with cerebral palsy “CP boy”. These diagnosis don’t make the individual. The individual HAS the diagnosis.
That being said, after posting this particular blog, I received a comment from a friend of mine from Mabel’s Labels who mentioned a situation she was in where a mom of a child with Down Syndrome was head counting her kids and said “now, where’s my little downsy? oh, there he is”… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?
My friend commented that she was very taken back. She has experience with autism and made the comment that she has never heard anyone use the “hey, where’s my little autistic” phrase.
My biggest frustration with having a child with Down Syndrome is society’s genuine ignorance to these individuals, their capabilities and inturn how to change these perceptions. To have a parent call her child that in a public forum makes me sick to my stomach.
Person first. Diagnosis last. It’s not complicated; just common everyday respect.
This past weekend I had the privilege of meeting another family of a child with Down Syndrome while out celebrating Canada Day in true Club 21 style at the Goderich Canada Day Parade.
Please understand, this family is very supportive and excepting of their child and his diagnosis but still some family members are using inappropriate language. Referring to having “one of those kids” or “Downs kids” etc.
I have two big problems when I find myself in these situations. First, I get so hung up on the language they are using that I can’t hear the actual conversation. Even though I know they are trying to support our kids, their choice of words is so insulting and segregating that it negates all that they are trying to say. Second, I don’t know how to begin to correct their error without insulting them because again I realize in this case there is no ill intent. Give me a blog to vent on, fine. Let me rant on twitter, great. But put me face to face in a situation that’s supposed to be fun and positive and I clam up.
Teaching “People First Language” is great and very important but how do you have that conversation in a face to face situation without insulting the uneducated speaker?
And for all those parents who should know better, I challenge you to choose your words carefully. You never know who may be listening.
For those who dont know, I’m a city girl who married a farmer. I’ve never claimed to be all knowing about agriculture issues (marketing is my cup of tea) but I like to think I’ve learned a lot in the ten years I’ve lived here.
My husband, Wayne Black, was born and raised on the family dairy farm and continues to follow his family roots. That being said, Wayne isn’t “just a farmer”. (Honestly, I hate the term “just a farmer” just as much as I hate the “I’m just a mom” statement. The skills and importance of both professions is highly underestimated – but that’s a blog for another time.)
Why I say Wayne is more than “just a farmer” is because of his involvement with the industry & our community off the farm.
His credentials include:
> Past president of the Huron County Federation of Agriculture (HCFA)
> Current Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)
> Youth Director on the Agriculture Adaptation Council (AAC)
> Current participant in Advanced Ag Leadership Class 14 (AALP)
> Economic Development Blueprint Taskforce
> Deputy Warden for Christ Church Port Albert
Plus, he is a fabulous husband, father and cash crop farmer who is out there everyday on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn speaking out for farmers and opening the lines of communication between farmers and consumers.
But now, Wayne has a new goal for himself.
On November 20-22, at the annual OFA Convention in Toronto (DoubleTree by Hilton), Wayne will be running for the organizations’ President position and we need your help!
I’m going to be blunt (some would say bias).
I think Wayne’s the best person for this position and his voice in the industry should be enough to win him this election BUT, there are “expectations” from the older generation that we need to provide for them to consider voting for Wayne.
In other words we need to provide a fully stocked hospitality suite to “convince” them that Wayne is the man for the job.
So we’re going to play the game but we want to do it on our terms.
We want to provide catered #LocalFood, #LocalWine and highlight our #LocalFarmers and #LocalBusinesses. We believe in the power of #SocialMedia and we want take this opportunity to introduce the OFA community to our network.
With all that being said, what does any of this mean to you?!
We need help to pull this off!
As always in our world, money is tight but we want to do this right.
We want to find a local caterer who will use local food.
We want a suite that will welcome ALL delegates.
We want to be fresh, young, innovated but still responsible and strong.
We need a suite that will showcase Wayne as an influencial voice in the province and will allow him the opportunity to introduce some of his supporters and network.
We need ideas!
Yes, I’m a city girl but I know very little about hosting a hospitality suite for farmers. My idea of a fabulous party is CocktailDeeva teaming up with Mabels Labels to create MabelBliss…. but that idea together with rum drinking farmers doesn’t quite blend! So please, if you have ideas, suggestion, or if you know someone who could help, let me know.
Let the ideas flow!