Raising His Son with Down Syndrome
On his day job, 44-year-old David M. Perry of Brookfield, Illinois, is a Dominican University history professor and Medieval Venice expert. After hours, he's a disability rights journalist, with his work appearing in publications like The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. He's also a disability rights researcher and writer of the blog, How Did We Get Into This Mess? Perry is the father of a 10-year-old son with Down syndrome.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Down syndrome "is a set of cognitive and physical symptoms resulting from having an extra chromosome 21 or an extra piece of that chromosome. It is the most common chromosomal cause of mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. People with Down syndrome also have some distinct physical features, such as a flat-looking face, and they are at risk for a number of other health conditions."
In a telephone interview, Perry said, "My son is someone I've talked about a lot (in my writings). At his birth, when we first heard the news about him having Down syndrome, we were shocked and profoundly ignorant about (Down syndrome). Here I was a highly educated individual and my wife was a scientist, and neither of us knew anything about it."
About his son, Nico, he said, "He's amazing. As a 10-year-old boy, he's self-contained, knows who he is, what he likes, and what he wants to do. He's functionally nonverbal, which means he communicates all the time and in many ways, and everybody, including me, his friends, and others, find ways to communicate with him. It's a two-way process and both parties have to do a lot of work."
Perry described his son as a "full, complex person," who had good and bad traits, e.g., was warm and loving, and also surly and independent, "just like most other 10-year-old boys," he added. Perry pushed back against the notion that people with Down syndrome were always "angelic, cute, and super-sweet." Instead, he said, his son was a full human being in all his "glorious complexity."
Next week, Perry has volumes to say about newspaper journalists needing to do better reporting about crimes and murders committed against people with disabilities. He recently published a white paper for the Ruderman Family Foundation about the topic, and he has been finishing up a book for Beacon Press with the working title, "Disability is Not a Crime."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News Headlines15 Tips for Surviving Summer With Chronic Lung Disease(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Summer days of high heat and poor air quality can be extremely challenging for those with COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and other lung conditions
Roseville to Showcase Big Trucks this JulyRoseville, CA - Watch our utility trucks lift, scope, suck and crush at Big Trucks Summer on Thursday mornings in July.
Kia Forte remains a good bargainRoseville, CA- Kia continues to improve its brand up and down its lineup. There's not a bad vehicle in the bunch.
Roseville Gas Prices Keep Local Travel More AffordableRoseville, CA - The easing of gas prices in Roseville continues into late June as Placer County travel costs decline.
Annual Warrior Golf Classic at Catta Verdera in LincolnLincoln, CA - WJU Athletics will be hosting the 19th Annual Warrior Golf Classic at Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln.
Leadership Rocklin Creates Community LeadersROCKLIN, Robin Trimble, CEO of the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce, announced that the Chamber will once again host the prestigious Leadership Rocklin program.
Roseville Flash Crime Report (6.23.17)Roseville, CA - Digest summary update of police activity for Roseville covering the period of June 12-22, 2017.
9 Classic Songs That Stand the Test of TimeRoseville, CA- Music history is filled with terrific songs that don't always age so gracefully. They often mark a point in time and include less than stellar recordings
Sacramento Public Library seeks local authorsSacramento Public Library seeks 45 local authors to showcase their work at its upcoming local author fair
16th Annual Art, Wine and Music Festival at Squaw Valley[Olympic Valley, Calif.] - The Village at Squaw Valley announces the return of the Art, Wine and Music Festival July 8 and 9, 2017.
El Dorado Winery Association to host Blind Barrel eventPLACERVILLE, CALIF. - In raucous, rebellious and Roaring Twenties style, El Dorado Winery Association will bring wine enthusiasts together to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition
Sierra College Patrons Celebrate a Successful YearRocklin, CA --The Sierra College Patrons, a support group of the Sierra College Foundation, celebrated the year just past and installed the officers who will guide the group during