Thursday, October 13, 2005

Do You Want the Good News or the Bad News First?

This morning on ABC's "Good Morning, America," I caught a profile of a young doctor named Brian Skotko. He did a research study about the way that doctors inform parents that their baby has Down Syndrome. From the article linked:

"Doctors continue to find it very challenging to deliver a diagnosis like Down syndrome to an otherwise happy expectant mom," says Skotko, who has a 24-year-old sister with Down syndrome and co-authored the award-winning book "Common Threads: Celebrating Life With Down Syndrome" (Band of Angels Press). "But the results of this study are conclusive: Delivering a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome does not have to be a gloomy affair. In fact, mothers in this study have now written the prescription on how best to explain the diagnosis in a loving manner."

Ever since "meeting" Julana of Life in the Slow Lane and Barbara of Mommy Life I have been more aware of the challenges and blessings of families who have children with Down Syndrome.

And as Brian Skotko points out, doctors ought to make parents more aware of the blessings as well as the challenges, too.


Blogger Chewy Mom said...

"And as Brian Skotko points out, doctors ought to make parents more aware of the blessings as well as the challenges, too."

Amen! I'm one of the many for whom the message was doom and gloom. I'm bummed that I missed the broadcast of Skotko's interview, but I'm thrilled that this is being discussed! My son with Down syndrome is a challenge and a blessing,..just like my other children!!

4:21 AM  
Blogger Vashti said...

Absolutely! We are so caught up in wanting "normal" that we miss so many gifts!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Krystal A. Kelly said...

We have a son with Asperger's (a form of Autism) and and few other differences. He sees everything through a different set of eyes. He thinks about things differently and gives us new insight into life. I wouldn't trade him in for a "normal" child for anything! He amazes me in more ways than I can count.

While we may need a little bit of understanding from our communities as we raise our children, we know that our children have so much to offer. We know that they can add to a community in ways that "normal" people simply cannot.

Thanks for seeing that truth as well and posting it on your blog. It's nice to know that there are others out there who are in the know as well.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Doctors aren't very good at delivering the news that a child has a Spina Bifida, either. That probably accounts for why something like 90% of babies dianosed with it are terminated.

We were lucky. Our doctor was very compasionate and went out of his way to help us. Perhaps it was due to the fact that one of his own children has Down's Syndrome and he has firsthand experience with what a differently abled child can bring to a family.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Julana said...

Thank you, Mel. My personal viewpoint has been turned upside down by having our son. The experience has been more difficult than for some people who have children with Down syndrome, since our son had seizures.

However, he has such a pleasant personality, ornery, with a sense of humor, that most people warm to him quickly. He is never out of sorts, unless hungry, over-tired, or in pain.
He has definite likes and dislikes, and has really started to take the initative in interactions, in the past months, even though he's nonverbal.
His smile can light up a room.

I used to be a great snob toward people with cognitive handicaps. I have been forced to level the field.
There is a freedom that comes with being able to see people more for who they are, rather than what mental gymnastics they can do.
(Of course, this is an ongoing process.)

5:51 PM  
Blogger Julana said...

People with Down syndrome are a gift.
P.S. That article has been posted and discussed at length on the national DS parents' list.

5:52 PM  

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