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Understanding and Accepting Handicaps, Part I

Boy with Down Syndrome using cordless drill to...

Boy with Down Syndrome using cordless drill to assemble a book case. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You don’t know how it is to be handicapped unless you have been there or been intimately involved with and caring for someone who is.  I have traveled both routes.  In fact, when I started out in this field, I didn’t want to work with the handicapped.  I avoided institutions for the developmentally disabled and nursing homes and wasn’t nearly as sympathetic towards my aunt who had polio and my mother who was shut-in in her later years as I should have been and I have since thought this over many times with increasing insight about how it might have been for them and what major adjustments they had to make and should be unfortunately post-humusly praised for by me.

I live in a rural area and found some limitation in job opportunities even when I traveled some distance away.   I worked in both homes and workshops for the developmentally disabled and in nursing homes.  (I’ve also worked in prisons, but that’s another story).  (See also my blogs on mental institutions.)  I learned many things that influenced my views in life.

I could never abort a child even if I knew via amniocentesis that he or she would have Down syndrome  In fact, I considered that before I got pregnant with my last child at thirty nine and I found out, shockingly so, from two different obstetricians in two different towns that I would have to sign a paper saying I would have an abortion if they found the fetus had Down syndrome.  I found out  several things.  An abortion at that late a stage of pregnancy was only allowed in these special cases and I read about what the procedure for such an abortion would be which was shocking.  I knew what Down syndrome persons were like from working with them and I realized I couldn’t abort my child just because he or she would be a two year old (or four year old or six year old, etc.) the rest of his or her life.   I also didn’t want to take the risk; however, how slight that the amniocentesis might hurt the fetus or cause a miscarriage or still birth.  I tell this story, because I never heard all this before and everybody that I talked to about it  hadn’t either.

There is more to this post on being handicapped and I will continue it tomorrow.

CAUTION:  These links are obviously Pro-Life and are somewhat more graphic than my post.  I realize there is an opposing point of view and I invite you to comment on this post about abortions and the handicapped and to propose links with an opposing point of view.

 

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