October 24th, 2011
Vulnerable Population and Self-Awareness Paper
Following long hours of thinking, outlining, investigating, and reading about different topics it was not easy to choose a vulnerable population. After going through the Neighborhood it became apparently clear that my desire is to write on the subject of the Down syndrome population. This vulnerable population is like no other. The individuals living with Down syndrome is a sub-group of people living with a genetic condition or a disorder and I wanted to know what makes Down syndrome individuals a vulnerable population. During extensive reading and research the realization is that the Down syndrome population requires special care and has specific needs and medical conditions through his or her lifespan. Individuals in this group, although sad to say are regarded by others as mentally retarded. Individuals who have Down syndrome should not be called “retarded” because according to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) who stated that “using this word is hurtful and suggests that people with disabilities are not competent” (n.d.). In this instance, regrettable so the words mental retardation are clinically accepted, which is unfortunate; however the NDSS goes on to say it is more acceptable to refer to individuals with Down syndrome as intellectually disabled. People living with this disorder depending on his or her range of disability some can live normal lives. Down syndrome individuals depending on his or her level of disability and medical condition may have to rely on family members as his or her source of transportation, health care needs, and income. Moreover, some individuals may need constant care and guidance. In this case, some individuals may be independent whereas others may live home for the rest of his or her life. In addition, these individuals living with Down syndrome has a wide array of problems. This paper will reveal my own personal awareness of this vulnerable population of Down syndrome individuals before reading and learning the demographics. In addition, this paper will reveal and cover the attitudes, biases, and stereotyping of this vulnerable group and how my attained knowledge after researching this group may affect heath care delivery to individuals with Down syndrome. Initially, the typical reaction is the constant starring because of their different features. Then other noticeable biases and stereotyping of individuals with Down syndrome is others seeing them as helpless, handicaps, mentally retarded, stupid, and not having any value or contribution to society. Society on a whole is mentally aware of how one should look and any deviation from the norm is considered abnormal, not accepted, and is pitied or shunned by others. I saw Gary in the Allen household my thoughts went way back about 28 years ago, which subsequently prompted many calls to speak with a family friend who has a child with Down syndrome. Memories came flooding back when I thought how bias and inconsiderate I was. How I had stereotyped individuals with Down syndrome simple because of how different he or she is. How I thought people living with Down syndrome to be stupid and a punishment from God. How wrong I was. Decades ago I was friends with my neighbor’s child who has Down syndrome. First I was afraid but that changed over time. I know many individuals living with Down and I have replaced my biases, stereotyping, pitying, stopped concentrating on their features, and started concentrate how loving, kind, and resourceful these human beings are. Furthermore, I became consciously aware of my prejudices and I recognized my biases were from fear of not knowing. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report suggest that “each year about 6,000 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome” and CDC goes on to...