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 HeadlinesVolunteers Needed to Assist with Annual Kid's Shopping TripRoseville, Calif. - Placer County nonprofit Tommy Apostolos Fund is seeking nearly 800 volunteers to accompany over 500 local, underserved children on a holiday shopping trip
Yamaha THR10X The Very Best Practice Amp Ever?WOW...The Yamaha THR10X is the very best practice amp I have ever heard.
2017 Ford Fusion Energi features lot of upsideRoseville, CA - Choosing just the right versions of the Ford Fusion is similar to a tricky multiple-choice test where all the possible answers seem plausible.
Emerald Cup Adds Portugal. The Man To LineupSanta Rosa, CA - The 14th annual Emerald Cup is excited to add Portugal. The Man to the artist lineup. The Emerald Cup will take place at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA
12 Days of Midtown Festivities and Fun this DecemberSACRAMENTO, Calif. - Committed to fostering a center for culture, creativity and vibrancy in Sacramento's urban core, the Midtown Association is pleased to present another season
Major UC Davis Medical Center Seismic Upgrades Underway(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Getting ready for "the big one" - a major earthquake - is a constant focus at UC Davis Medical Center. Seismic safety planning and construction
Macy's Theatre of Lights in SacramentoOLD SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An electrifying and family-friendly holiday tradition, the ever-popular "Macy's Theatre of Lights" performances has returned to dazzle the Old Sacramento
Holiday in the Hills on the Placer Wine Trail in DecemberRoseville, CA, - Come join us and help celebrate the holidays on the Placer Wine Trail to benefit Toys for Tots. Enjoy the holidays in Placer County
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Comes to Life at This EventSacramento, Calif. - Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday tale "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will come to life at Fairytale Town's annual Winter Wonderland event.
California Bowl in Roseville November 24- 26Roseville, CA - Nov. 16, 2017 -One of the most competitive and exciting youth football tournaments on the west coast returns to Roseville over Thanksgiving weekend.
Kids with Disabilities to Get Help with Telemedicine Program (Sacramento, Calif.) - The UC Davis Department of Pediatrics has received a $2 million, five-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to fund a new telemedicine program
Gun Scare in Roseville at Woodcreek HighRoseville, CA, - Roseville Police find loaded handgun following alert from Woodcreek High Students.