In Kevin's seventh grade science class, they are currently learning about chromosomes (in honor of this, Kevin wore his "My Brother Has More Chromosomes Than Yours" t-shirt to school one day recently - gotta love that kid). the teacher has given the kids a very basic overview of chromosomes and the role they play in the development of a human being.
She explained to the kids that each person is made up of a contribution of 23 chromosomes from the mother and 23 from the father, making 46 chromosomes.
Not hard to see where this is going. Yes, the subject of Down syndrome came up, and the teacher explained that sometimes one of the parents contributes an extra chromosome and this results in something called Down syndrome. Kevin said that she didn't go into any depth really about Down syndrome, but she did say something along the lines of, "It's not necessarily horrible, but it's not necessarily good, either. It's basically just not normal."
Ack, there's that word: normal.
I asked Kevin how this all made him feel, and he just kind of shrugged. For the record, the teacher apparently knows that Kevin has a sibling with Ds.
I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. I guess a little sad. I mean, I don't expect a seventh grade teacher to go into a lot of depth about Down syndrome, but I think what she said is actually very telling about the general ignorance out there about Ds.
I wish it weren't judged as "not horrible" or "not good" or "not normal." I wish it were just seen as a variation in the vast landscape of human beings.