TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MYRIAM CHAPLAIN RIOU Azerbaijani artist Maryam Alakbarli poses in her studio in Paris on June 10, 2015. Alakbarli, who was born with Down Syndrome, is currently studying at the School of Decorative Arts in Paris and will be exhibiting her works in the French capital. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION == (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Culturing these kinds of sensitivities as we model for our children how to interact with people who are different than we are in some way is so important. However, equally important is finding the ways in which we all share commonalities. Sie Whitten explains,
I think first and foremost [you have to explain] that people with Down syndrome are different, but equal [and] if you come from that ilk and you really believe in human and civil rights, you don’t know who your child is going to be or what your child is going to do, whether that child be typical or differently-abled. And when you look at intelligence not as a test score or an IQ, you suddenly become a lot more inclusive in terms of how you look at all people and their capabilities, and hopefully more respectful as well.
This kind of inclusivity and respect serves the entire population.