Time Magazine Highlights a ‘Teachable Moment’ on Children With Down Syndrome

A well-circulated article from Time Magazine has been making its rounds.  A very thoughtful piece indeed, it showcases an authentic, more personalized side of the debate on children with Down Syndrome and how trained pets are used to help develop their “logic and reasoning skills.” (You’ll also see the photos used to demonstrate this).

It explains the triumphant feeling a mother of a special needs child might experience in those moments when their precious little one finds ways to solve problems and how such joy would inspire them to share these events with others.

The only part of the article I find issue with is the idea that somehow Governor Palin was responsible for explaining this to people, as if the ire she and her family received for the dog photos could have been avoided.

The concluding paragraph to the article says:

Palin has that gigantic microphone. It comes with a ton of drawbacks, especially when it comes to public reaction to her family. But this is a teachable moment she can seize. It probably won’t quell PETA’s ire, but that’s the fringe anyway. The rest of us are open to knowing more.

I hope so and more people should be “open to knowing more.”

Ever since Trig was a baby, the darkest aspects of human behavior have led some to hit rock bottom.  Aside from the overall fear of what some perceive as imperfection where the sanctity of life is concerned, we’ve also witnessed this little guy consistently used as a tool by others as a means to attack his mother in the some of the most thoughtless and frivolous ways one could imagine.

Mr. Freiss (the author of the piece) said that Governor Palin has “become conditioned to react to any negative feedback, to become defensive and sharp-elbowed and treat it like any number of other liberal-versus-conservative skirmishes.” 

What he seems to miss in his thoughtful article is that the personal attacks on Trig and the Governor’s family are politically motivated leaving people with no other choice but to call it out, especially when it makes the aggressors look like hypocrites.

So it is a “teachable moment.”  But it’s not just about the public’s overall perception of children with Down Syndrome and how they interact with their pets.  It’s also about not using children as political pawns to settle scores with people you disagree with politically.  Doing so denies them the compassion, tolerance, and patience they deserve and need.

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