A voice for youths with autism, Down syndrome

This letter deals with the plight of Down syndrome and autistic youths and to raise awareness in both society and their families regarding the stigma and discrimination they face.

Our beloved family member who has Down syndrome has endured such and it needs to be made known.

She has endured discrimination in her dance classes and in the town parade. She was cut from her school dance program, one where she outperformed classmates for two years.

A local private dance studio even refused to accept her, saying she would “slow down the class,” without even testing her.

In the Lyford parade that’s she’s featured in annually, one we recently spent $300 plus on, the organizers neglected to even extend her a conciliatory prize or honorable mention, causing her to weep inconsolably.

She had performed a most impressive Selena act. It was quite amazing.

These slights of discrimination are often intangible, imperceptible. Not so to the victims who are often devastated.

Such discrimination is usually veiled and downplayed by intolerants.

It is my need to instill into families to demand from society the dignity and recognition that their disabled loved ones deserve.

Down syndrome and autism sufferers have a wealth of talents to offer and are undeserving of having that chance removed because of the narrow- minded stigma. It’s unfair, inhumane and ungodly. And it’s against the law.

Families, take keen awareness of the treatment your loved ones receive, and when you sense possible stigma, don’t stand for it. Be the voice of the voiceless and an advocate for them.

Demand their fair share of dignity from society.

You know more than anyone how special they are, so demand they get the recognition.

We’ll all be better for it.

James Honaker Mary Torres Harlingen