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SN children

Speechless

16 replies

eidsvold · 21/07/2004 01:15

just remembered that I wanted to share this - probably one of the very very rare times I have been speechless - much to dh's surprise....

Some very good friends had a house guest and during our visit, she was cuddling dd, etc ... she then turns to me and tells me how when she and her husband were first married they were offered a mongoloid child for adoption but as the babe was only given six months to live they did not feel they could do it - too upsetting.

Well I sat there and my brain is just reeling - I could not be certain for a while that she had actually referred to a child with down's syndrome as a mongoloid child!!! Thank goodness it was not a direct comment about dd - that may have stirred me to action..... This lady is just in her sixties - so not that old and I was just speechless.

Turns out later that night she was talking to our friends about mongoloid children - and my friend ( even more outspoken than I ) was also speechless.

Next time I am sure I will be prepared and say something but as it was my first experience - I was just dumbstruck...

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Ghosty · 21/07/2004 02:43

Oh Eidsvold ....
What planet was the woman on FFS???????

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emsiewill · 21/07/2004 07:24

Some people are just ignorant and insensitive.

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SoupDragon · 21/07/2004 07:32

It's probably just that the correct words haven't reached her yet. It's a generational thing (and mongoloid was a common term when I was a child)rather than her being insensitive. Someone needed to take her aside and quietly point out the correct terminology and educate her.

Whilst the phrase she used was completely inappropriate, she was obviously delighted by your DD and thought she was gorgeous...

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SoupDragon · 21/07/2004 07:34

I'm not excusing what she said, I hasten to add! She just needed to be told it was inappropriate. Difficult to do when you 've been stunned ito speechlessness

I've learnt a lot about SNs from MN that I didn't know before. Like the difference between "child with DS" and "DS child". I certainly wouldn't have considered that before.

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hmb · 21/07/2004 07:37

Goodness, how awful. Drags the whole thing back to it's racist roots. In an odd way it makes you realise that it is all about discrimination based on how you look, doesn't it?

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Twiglett · 21/07/2004 07:45

message withdrawn

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Fio2 · 21/07/2004 08:37

how awful for you eidsvold Sad

I agree with soupy though, although i am not excusing it either. It really is a generational thing and I am sure she didnt mean to cause offence

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Ghosty · 21/07/2004 08:43

Hmmmm... I think I disagree with you guys. My parents are in their late 60s and can be quite fuddy duddy about stuff but they would never ever call a child 'Mongoloid' .... they may be the older generation but they keep up with what is happening in the world.

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Tissy · 21/07/2004 08:52

my mum is in her 60's and wouldn't use that term,but I suspect that the friend was offered a "mongoloid" baby, and was just repeating what she was told by the adoption agencies at the time. I'm sure she didn't mean to cause offence, and would probably be mortified if she knew how she'd upset you. Is there perhaps a general information leaflet or booklet you could send her? You could include a note saying, "I thought this might interest you".

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lou33 · 21/07/2004 09:04

Oh dear There are so many people out there who still need educating .

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coppertop · 21/07/2004 09:17

No matter how much we think attitudes have evolved there always seems to be someone to prove us wrong. I know someone who uses the term "Mong" (could hardly bring myself to even type the word) despite me asking him not to. In his case it's not a generational thing as he's still in his 30's. I've recently changed tactics though. Last time he used the word about someone I just said, "Oh you mean X who had Down's Syndrome?" and just carried on talking. He looked a bit miffed but hasn't used that word since in my presence. If it makes a difference to someone like this man (who I'm sad to say I am actually related to ) then it could be enough to show the woman that 'DS' is now the term that is used.

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Thomcat · 21/07/2004 10:12

Bit by bit, slowly and surely we need to politley educate people. She obviously meant no harm and she would probably curl up and die if she thought she's offended you. That's obviosuly the word she thought was correct and once she knows that it definately isn't the word to use she'll probably never use it again.


It's sad that there are some people whose language is so out of date and out of touch and sometimes so offensive. At least her attitude didn't match her choice of words.

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eidsvold · 22/07/2004 04:31

I realised she did not mean any offense by it and to be honest I wasn't offended just more shocked that someone had used terminology that I thought was well and truly redundant... btw the friends are in their 60's - kinda like extra parents for me and extra grandparents for dd.....

just made me feel sad... when I reflected on it.

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hmb · 22/07/2004 06:31

I'm just remembering the girl I taugh last year who, unprompted by me pointed out a paragraph in an old text book that said that people with DS were 'retarded' and said ( in front of the whole class, which takes guts for a teenager) that she thought it was wrong that people could say things like that. Things are changing, and that wonderful, sensitive girl is the shape of things to come, I hope.

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Dingle · 06/08/2004 22:17

Sorry for butting in here- just reading through your comments. I remember dd was a tiny babe & I tried to get some books about DS from my library. I went armed with a list of recommended reading from DSA but the library didn't have much to offer- i ordered some books in and went away with what they had. I was so shocked and upset as a mum with a newborn babe to be reading the term "mongol" in a library book. I almost fell off my chair, it was a term I hadn't heard of since my childhood and I had forgotten the word even existed!
I hasten to add the book got put to the back of the shelf- this was not the sort of positive, factual, up to date book I wanted to be reading.
I agree with the comments made- as parents, friends, around SN children and adults you do become more aware of "what not to say" you seem more tuned in on peoples sensitivity. I am personally not offended by "normal" but I will always comment "about the average child..." because moving in the circles we do, you never know what other parents find offensive. Let's face it,I know some days I am probably a lot more sensitive than others about my dd.
We all need to educate others, hopefully we lead by example and I know a lot of my friends pick up on my "terminology" and repeat it to me in later conversations.

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geekgrrl · 07/08/2004 10:53

ahh Dingle that reminds me - when we were in the 'bad news room' in SCBU waiting for someone to give us the chromosome test result (dd was 5 days old) I was leafing through some books on the shelf, particularly one on visually diagnosing chromosomal defects in children. Under DS it said something about the child having a flat and unintelligent face and a bull's neck!!!!! I decided that whatever she dd has, she obviously didn't have what was described in that awful book.

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