Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Tongue Myth

I took Dante to his first orthopedic appointment a little over a week ago. He will be getting Ankle Feet Orthoses to help him on the road to walking. The doctor was very nice, despite keeping us waiting for one hour and forty-five minutes. He was very slick actually, he came in and immediately commented on Nikita's earrings, which were the Blue note symbol for the St. Louis hockey team. So off we were on a conversation about hockey without even getting a comment in about the long wait!

But, what really surprised me was this specialist saying to me, "Are you going to do anything about his big tongue?". Excuse me? I told him Dante does not have a big tongue. He does have a small jaw, thus the crowded teeth. He also has very lax muscles, and since the tongue is a muscle he does find it easier to simply let it stick out.

There are many myths and stereotypes about people with Down Syndrome, however we cannot expect everyone to know facts versus fiction. So when circumstances like this arise, perhaps we should avoid our gut reaction and not smack the person upside the head. Instead, it is our opportunity to educate someone about the reality of Down Syndrome. Maybe we should look forward to these opportunites, because they are the only way these stereotypes will be eliminated.

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