Monday, November 1, 2010

If People with DS Ruled the World!

From the National Association of Down Syndrome

This paper, written by Dennis McGuire PhD of the Adult DS Center of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge Illinois, was originally delivered as a plenary address at the conference in Chicago in July of 2005, co-sponsored by the National Down Syndrome Society and the National Association for Down Syndrome.  The paper is rather long so here is an excerpt.  For the entire paper, please visit the link below:

If people with Down syndrome ruled the world:

Affection, hugging and caring for others would make a big comeback.

All people would be encouraged to develop and use their gifts for helping others.

People would be refreshingly honest and genuine.

People engaged in self talk would be considered thoughtful and creative. Self talk rooms would be reserved in offices and libraries to encourage this practice.

Order and Structure would rule:

* Schedules and calendars would be followed.

* Trains & planes would run on time.

* Lunch would be at 12:00. Dinner at 6:00.

* Work time would be work time.

* Vacation would be vacation.

But there is much, much more:

* People would be expected to keep their promises.

* Last minute changes would be strongly discouraged (if not considered rude and offensive).

* Places would be neat, clean, and organized (not just bedrooms, but cities, countries, the whole world).

* Lost and founds would go out of business (even chaotic appearing rooms have their own sense of order).

* The “grunge look” would be out, way out.

* “Prep” (but not pretentious) would be very big.

There would be a great deal more tolerance for:

* Repeating the same phrase or question

* Use of the terms “fun” and “cleaning” in the same sentence

* Closing doors or cabinets that are left ajar (even in someone else’s house)

* Arranging things until they are “Just so.”

The words “hurry” and “fast” would be not be uttered in polite society. “Plenty of time” would take their place.

* Our current mode of dealing with time, also known as the “Rat race” (or rushing around like our hair is on fire), would not survive.

* Here and now would command a great deal more respect than it currently does.

* Stopping to smell the roses would not be just a cliché.

* Work would be revered, no matter what kind, from doing dishes to rocket science.

* Speed would be far less important than doing the job right.

* Work would be everyone’s right, not a privilege.

All instruction would include pictures to aid visual learners.

* School and work sites would have picture, written, and verbal instructions to accommodate different learning styles.

* Counselors would be able to use visual mediums to help solve problems.

What About News?

* Weather would be the only essential news item

* News would be more local (“A new McDonalds just opened up,” or “A dance tonight,” etc.). After all, what is more important than that?

What About Bad News?

If people with Down syndrome ran the world, would there be wars or murders? We don’t think so! There may be too many McDonalds but definitely not the wars or murders we have in our “civilized societies.”

What About “Behaviors”...

...and terms such as (the ever popular) “Incident reports,” “Outbursts,” “Unprovoked outbursts” (one of our all time favorites), and of course “Non compliance”?

We believe that in the world of Down Syndrome, anyone writing “incident reports” would have to go through sensitivity training, which would consist of someone following them around writing down everything they did wrong.

*Anger would only be allowed in special sound proof rooms.

*Trained negotiators would be available to everyone to help deal with any conflicts.

* The word “non compliant” would not be used (except as a very rude comment). It would be replaced by “assertive,” as in “he or she is being assertive today.”

What About Self Expression?

* Art and music appreciation would be BIG.

* People would have time to work on paintings and other art projects.

* Acting and theatrical arts would be encouraged for all.

* Dancing

* You probably would not hear a great deal about exercise, but you may hear a phrase like, “Dancing tonight ... absolutely.”

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