I HAVE Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. I am not a Down syndrome kid, A Downs kid or a Downsie. There are no affectionate variants of a medical diagnosis. Just like my friend with leukaemia is not a 'Leukemia kid,' I just have Down syndrome.
I am Parker.... A child who HAS Down syndrome.
Putting me first is called 'people first' language. It values me as a person and doesn't define me by my diagnosis. It's also very respectful and inclusive when you remember to use people first language.
If you forget what to say, or how to talk about it, ask my mum. She doesn't judge people for forgetting language they might not have used before, and will happily share the secrets of how to display inclusive behaviour.
This is SUCH a valuable skill, because.. did you know, around 10 per cent of the world's population live with a disability?
It's not Down syndrome that smiles at my mummy.. that's all me.
Down syndrome doesn't dictate the exact age I will talk, or walk, or how quickly I will learn to read.. It just changes the pace, and average range of time. That's all me, too.
Down syndrome also doesn't make me a difficult baby, or more work..
All babies with Down syndrome are different, and their mummies try not to ever compare against each other. Just like every other one of their babies, and just like you do with YOUR babies.
I hope when I meet you, you love me for exactly who I am. I'm just Parker.