Monthly Archives: September 2012

Couple with Down’s Syndrome Chosen to be Prom Queen and King

From NBC New York by Pei-Sze Cheng:-

Meghan Latini’s parents have always hoped other children would accept their daughter but they never dreamed that she would be prom queen. A few weeks ago, Latini received the honor at Huntington High School and her boyfriend, Brendan Higgins, who was also born with Down’s Syndrome, was voted king. “She’s always reached heights we never dreamed she’d attain,” said Marianne Latini, her mother. “We are so lucky.”

“I felt like a queen,” said Meghan. “I felt special,” she said as she described prom night as a dream come true. “A lot of people were cheering for me so I was pretty happy,” said the 17-year-old. Both Latini and Higgins graduated from Huntingdon High School this year and have been dating for four years although they’ve known each other since they were in pre-school. While most schools are judged by their test scores or athletics, Latini’s parents say the generous act of the student body really shows the character of the students and the school  community.’

Meghan is special to us but to get that kind of redognition from your peers, well, that is really something and it felt great,” said Joe Latini, the teen’s father.

Recent graduate Samantha Palmer ws also nominated for prom queen but she says she voted for Latini. “They won because they were the cutest couple in our grade and everyone loves them,” said Palmer.

Next year Latini and Higgins are going to attend the same tech school, but both of them have their sights set on college.

After reading this report, I was so moved, that I wanted to share it with the people who read my blogs.

The difference between winning and losing, is most often ‘not quitting.’

 

The word ADVANTAGE seems inappropriate so allow me to explain. IF someone walks with a cane, that individual no longer suffers from an invisible illness. People are kinder, get up to give that person a seat on a bus or in a doctor’s clinic. Someone might even offer to carry his/her shopping bags to the car … and we have patience of he/she walks slowly in a supermarket, even if we want to pass with our large, wide trolley. But, if that same individual ventures out without his/her cane, that act has changed the problem into an invisible one. SO, what we can’t see, might be hurting someone else … only due to the fact that we no longer see outward signs.

What about the people suffering from heart diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, a psychiatric disorder, cancer or an autoimmune illess? Add to this list C.F.S. (chronic fatigue syndrome) rheumatoid arthritis and Gaucher’s disease;  a rare genetic disorder that causes bone pain and fractures, an enlarged spleen and liver, severe swelling, fatigue, and a lot more. Because so much of their time is spent visiting doctors and undergoing various tests, these patients are forced to take too much time off work thus often losing their jobs. In short, living with chronic pain impacts one bodies, thoughts and general behavior.

Due to the fact that I know a few people who suffer from invisible illnesses, I am trying to be far more empathetic and patient.

 

Of all the things I’ve lost during my lifetime, I miss the loss of my mind the most ….,

‘Of all the things I’ve lost during my life-time, I miss the loss of my mind the most.’  – said by a patient suffering from chronic schizophrenia.

When over 500 adults were surveyed, one quarter felt that people suffering from a mental illness was less intelligent than the rest of us. This is incorrect.

Forty-two percent felt that being treated for a mental illness was a sign of failure. This is incorrect too.

Even doctors are reluctant to receive psychiatric help for fear of losing patients as this means failure.  This reminds me of a quote by Oscar Wilde:- Give man a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

Contentment is our greatest wealth, faithfulness is the best relationship we can have  but HEALTH IS OUR GREATEST GIFT.

Education, a change of attitude of the media, and a lot of government intervention might help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness

 

Every man, woman or child suffering from a mental disorder, deserves a life in the community with meaningful employment. Stigma results due to a lack of knowledge: ignorance, fear of someone with differences, mistrust, negative attitudes and discrimination.

Governments worldwide have been remiss, as have the public health communities. There is a whole lot more that they can do to help.

The following organizations have done a great deal in this field and although I am not providing links due to limitations to my ‘basic computer skills, I am listing the various organizations I have come across that are worth contacting. If I have omitted any, I would appreciated receiving the relevant information.

Breaking the Silence, Entertainment Industries Council, Change Your Minds about Mental Illness, In Our Own Voice, Active Minds on Campus, The Kids on the Block, Out of the Shadows, The Carter Center and SAMHSA in the U.S.A.

Stigma Watch, Beyond Blue and Mental Health Law,  Australia.

Minds Like Mine, New Zealand

See Me, Scotland

MIND, U.K.

Stop Exclusion, Dare to Care.

My conclusion is that the problem boils down basically to education and the changing of attitude of the media as well as persuading governments to intervene on a large scale.

 

No More Stigma?


Many people who have suffered from a mental illness will say that the consequences of the stigma are worse than the illness itself. Despite solid evidence about the nefarious consequences of stigmatization, most parts of the world invest in little or nothing at all in this fight.

Judges, policemen, doctors, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, have the influence that can be used to fight stigma. Opportunities for direct contact with people who suffer from a mental illness can reduce stigma and prejudice better than any other form of education.

The involvement of people with a mental illness when choosing targets for anti-stigma work is more useful than selecting targets on the basis of research.

Now in 2012, it’s time for change. Join me, join us.