Happy World Down Syndrome Day 2016!
The last 20 days we’ve covered various topics related to Down syndrome, building awareness. Now it is time to put awareness into action.
What is awareness in action? ACCEPTANCE!
noun ac·cept·ance/ əkˈseptəns/
: the act of accepting something or someone
: the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable
On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the basic human needs, those needed for survival, are classified into two cateogories. First is the physiological needs – food, water, shelter. The second is safety needs – security and stability. Once these basic human needs are established, the next is the psychological needs of the human, identified as love and belonging. This is met through family, friendships, intimacy, and a sense of connection. Simply put, it is the need to be accepted.
Once the psychological need to be accepted is met, the individual is able to move to self-fulfillment through self-esteem and self-actualization. The top of the hierarchy being the sense of having achieved one’s full potential. Maslow’s hierarchy defines the need to be accepted as a necessary need before one can achieve their full potential.
This is no different for individuals with Down syndrome, they have within them the human need to be accepted.
We have talked about how acceptance implies the basic right to live, the opportunity to be included in education and community. We’ve talked about respect towards individuals of differing abilities, and giving them the opportunity to participate. Ultimately it is cherishing the dignity of all.
So what can you do?
Everyone is in a different spot along the journey of acceptance. If you are uncomfortable around individuals with disabilities, take that next step – simply smile and acknowledge them. Next, greet them or wish them a good day.
For someone who is comfortable around individuals with disabilities, what can you do next? Consider having a conversation – what greater way to include someone than to listen to their story. How about teaching? Do you have a skill or topic that you could give others with? Consider volunteering or teaching a class. Ready to go beyond that? Considering hiring someone with disabilities, and give them an opportunity to earn an income necessary for independence.
We are all in different places, gifted differently, but with the one common calling – the calling to accept and respect the dignity of all individuals.
I hope that through these last three weeks you have learned more about Down syndrome, and are ready to take your awareness to the next level, put it in action, and help members of our community become accepted.
p.s. Don’t forget to share or comment on these posts to be entered into our Ds Awareness drawing for one of three prize baskets. Drawing will be done on March 22nd, and I will contact the winners for mailing/drop off address. Good luck!