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The Politics of Down Syndrome Paperback – October 16, 2011
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This is a timely book that is as important as it is unusual. The 'problems' of people with Down syndrome are often discussed - less so those of the world they find themselves in. Political decisions that profoundly affect (or even prematurely end) the lives of people with Down syndrome are taken by policymakers with little knowledge of the condition and almost always without asking people with Down syndrome what they think. This book highlights many of the prejudices behind these decisions, and many of their consequences. In so doing, it provokes a debate that is urgently needed - one that is not just about Down syndrome but about human differences, human diversity and the defence of individual human rights. (Frank Buckley, CEO Down Syndrome Education International) Fascinating - at last a concise, well written examination of Down's syndrome which not only presents a historical perspective and political analysis but has the added advantage of deriving from personal experience. (Andy Merriman, Writer and broadcaster, co-author of BBC Radio 4 drama 'Minor Adjustment')
About the Author
Kieron Smith is a non-executive Director of Down Syndrome Education International the world's leading academic research based Down syndrome charity, www.dseinternational.org. He is also father to Tanzie (aged 6 who has Down syndrome) and was recently involved in the incident with the comedian Frankie Boyle, with his wife Sharon Smith, http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/08/frankie-boyle-downs-syndrome. Kieron is a professional bookseller, ex Managing Director of The Book Depository, the UK's largest specialist online bookshop, he has previously worked throughout the trade, including at Waterstones and WHSmith Retail. He is now MD of The Best Little Bookshop http://www.bestlittlebookshop.com.
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Top customer reviews
It is this ignorance that has spawned the most upsetting and distressing discrimination against people with Down's Syndrome.
Maybe things are a bit better than they were a while ago, but there is still a long road to travel before we can say we're a fully inclusive society.
I personally think it's 'medicine' that needs to change, rather than politics having had years of dealing with doctors for my youngest sibling who is, firstly a person, not a 'sufferer' of a 'syndrome'.
His book describes how we as a society have created a terrible assumption that Down's = suffering, expense, low-life expectancy, early death, unemployment etc etc and we routinely 'screen' expectant mothers sending a 'very strong signal from the very start, principally that Down syndrome is such a serious condition that a national screening program is necessary; which is the case in the UK and of many other Western countries.'
A person with Down's syndrome is a person, not an expense on society's budget.
I applaud Kieron's worthy writing.