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What do Medical Students think of Down Syndrome?

I'm part of a local network of parents of kids with Down syndrome, and we had a doctor from the Trisomy 21 Clinic at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia come to speak to us last night. She answered questions about potty training and aggressive behavior and communication and school inclusion. At the end of the night, I asked her how much communication they have with other doctors at the hospital. That is to say, how much influence does she have over the way her fellow physician's view children with Down syndrome?

She said something like, "Many of my colleagues believe that if you don't have an IQ of 130 or greater, your life is not worth living." (An IQ of 100 is normal, by the way, 130 is genius. Most kids with Down syndrome fall at the very low end of normal, or the high end of what is considered mental retardation, that is to say 60-80.)

We had an encounter a few months ago with some medical students who, to some degree, felt the same way. And I recently wrote an essay about that encounter that was published in the most current issue of the Christian Century. I hope you'll take a look: An Hour With Penny.

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