He couldn't speak up in the moment, but now he's telling the whole world.
Most of us at one time or another have had that experience of overhearing a conversation and wishing we could cut in to set the record straight. Robb Scott, a father to a son with Down syndrome, had one such moment, but, when he didn’t say anything in person, he decided it was his responsibility to take his plea to the internet and tell the whole world.
While browsing at a video store, Scott overheard a son ask his father about a character with Down syndrome in one of the films. Searching for the right words, the father told his son that it was “an illness of not knowing anything.” Though Scott wanted to say something, he says he “let that ignorance grow in another generation and failed my son.”
But he recorded a video message to let people know what Down syndrome is really about. “Down syndrome is literally one of the most beautiful things that’s happened in my life,” he says. Far from describing the condition as one of suffering, he says that “it’s fun, it’s brilliant, it’s kind, it’s cuddly.”
Scott continues to explain that Down syndrome is neither an illness nor a disability. “I believe that people are teachers and learners,” he continues. “A well-educated man does not have more to teach than my son. He has different things to teach, but he does not have more.”
Amidst the controversy surrounding the “elimination” of Down syndrome in Iceland, this video speaks a passionate breath of fresh air to all those who cherish their own relationships with someone with Down, whether they be a friend or family member. Scott strongly insists that no one should be seeking to eliminate Down syndrome in the first place; there’s nothing bad about it and no child diagnosed with it who needs to be fixed.
Instead, we ought to learn from everyone around us, as Scott suggested, and especially those whom we might not have realized were teaching us in the first place.