The kewl girls and I were in town today and we bumped into L, the manager of the community centre where we do music. We stopped to chat and during our conversation I mentioned that we were shopping for a birthday present for the girls' friend R, who also comes to music.
It took L a moment to remember R from the 20 other children in the group.. When she did, she said, "Oh yes, the little down-sie girl."
In response, Miss J frowned and said, "Her name is R, and she's not a down-sie girl, she's my friend."
I couldn't have put it better myself.
R is a person, not a diagnosis.
Down syndrome is what she has. It is not who or what or all that she is.
We are all people first. No matter what our abilities, no matter what our diagnosis, no matter how smart our brains or how agile our bodies, we are all people first.
To only see a label is to be, in Miss J's words, "A big smelly bum".