Ds Awareness Day#14: Down syndrome & Marriage…..I do!
There are many myths about individuals with Down syndrome, among them that an adult with Down syndrome is the same as a child, and that they are unable to form close interpersonal relationships that could even lead to marriage.
The fact is individuals with Down syndrome do socialize, and seek to have meaningful friendships.
As they grow they may choose to date, maintain ongoing relations, and even consider marriage. Adults with Down syndrome are not children, and should not be considered or treated like children. Like other adults, they enjoy activities and companionship of other adults.
In the past, because of the inaccurate belief that individuals with Down syndrome stayed in permanent childhood, sexuality was not considered an issue. In fact, all people with Down syndrome have sexual feelings and intimacy needs. It is important that expression of these feelings in socially acceptable, age appropriate ways be recognized by families and caregivers. Sexuality education is the way to plan for this aspect of adulthood as it applies to independence in educational, social, residential and vocational settings
Like all human beings, individuals with Down syndrome have a need for love, affection, and acceptance.
There are many stories that you can read regarding adults with Down syndrome defying societal misconceptions, and leading beautiful lives with meaningful relationships. I encourage you to check them out. You can start HERE with the story of Monica & David.
Peter’s Story – While we are many years away from dating and marriage with Peter, we still see in him the desire to have friendships and form relationships with others. Due to his personal journey, Peter often sees adults as his friends. Adults generally know how to interact with Peter, which gives him a sense of acceptance which is reinforced by interaction. He is far more comfortable around adults that most children his age. Making friends his age has been a little harder for him, and something he works on every day. (More to come in upcoming awareness post!)