As the fate of a 10-year old girl with Down syndrome is decided – Global President & CEO Michelle Sie Whitten asks: Will anyone stand up?

Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Yup. That’s actually the name of our non-profit. You can say protecting people with Down syndrome is not only our mission but in our DNA. So when the issue of a 10-year old girl with Down syndrome separated from her mother in Texas came up, we naturally took notice. And, when a guest commentator on Fox News dissed even the idea of a 10-year old girl with Down syndrome as being lefty-bait for sympathy with a “womp womp” you bet we took notice.

Here’s the thing—whether you believe these separations are a matter of national security or a matter of inhumane leverage for a wall, there is no doubt the children are innocent and what they’re being put through is horrible. And the children with Down syndrome aren’t acting, they actually have Down syndrome and therefore special needs.

Unfortunately, we cannot physically protect this 10-year old with Down syndrome in Texas, but we can virtually protect her and others by demanding that she not be ridiculed or disrespected. We can allow her story to be told in a complete and civil manner.

At Global we know people with Down syndrome have idiosyncratic speech that in many cases only family members or teachers understand. So, even a fluent Spanish speaker would have difficulty in communicating with this 10-year old girl. We know that expressive language is compromised and is often 2-3x worse than receptive language, and that people with the condition depend heavily on routine to function. It is safe to say that, in all likelihood, this 10-year old girl with Down syndrome is suffering mental trauma and we strongly support her immediate reunification with her father—who is apparently a US citizen—and we are offering assistance from Down syndrome experts to the extent her detention is prolonged. Please help us to advocate- will YOU stand up? #GlobalHelpHerNow.

Michelle Sie Whitten
President & CEO
Global Down Syndrome Foundation

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