Last night I around 11 PM went with my son to a new bar so small it is a literal hole in the wall. It’s quite popular and was packed wall to wall with barely any room to move.
It was a nice place and I my son and I saw several of our friends there. At one end of the bar a seated woman had her head on the edge or the rail as if she were drunk or exhausted and there was another woman in her thirties standing behind her pulling her hair (the seated woman’s) into a ponytail. She was pretty drunk and asked if anyone had a hair band. No women responded so her I gave her my blue parachute cord wrist bracelet which I doubled over and told her he could have it for the woman who was not feeling well. At her request I then held the hair of the prone women in place while her friend looped the wristband into a hair pull. The prone girl did not move and said nothing during all this, but she was quite well dressed (from the back) and quite frankly not bad looking to the extent you can judge someone from the back with their head on the rail.
It was hard not to notice in holding her hair in place that it was “perfect hair”. It was soft, glossy and very dark brown, it was the kind of hair women pay hundreds of dollars to get from stylists. I began thinking these two drunks needed to leave before someone took advantage of them.
Shortly after that another drunk women in her fifties, also a bit toasted but not nearly as much as the hair arranger, came along and took charge of the woman at the bar. As the women got up to go and pulled the woman with her head on the bar edge upright it became evident it was a very tired girl/young woman with Down’s syndrome. She looked like an older teenager but I had no way of telling how old she really was.
Not sure how to feel about it. Was this appropriate or not? It’s not my business if a grown woman takes her kid or a person she’s caretaking to a busy bar. Maybe the girl with Down’s wanted to go and got tired. Maybe she was very high functioning and wanted to party with her friends. . Who knows … it just feels kind of wrong somehow.
Maybe the girl with Down Syndrome was 21 and you guessed her age wrong.
Maybe they just stopped because mom had to go to the bathroom.
Maybe they’d been there all night and girl with DS was just tired.
I’m not sure if you’re asking because she was underage or because she was disabled, but either way I’d say it was none of your business. Doesn’t sound like any kind of abuse or neglect was happening, just a tired kid. For all you know that was the owner’s wife and kids there to support them on the first few nights.
I don’t know, I like to see families and caretakers that don’t treat Down’s adults like they are still children. Why shouldn’t a grown woman be able to go hang out at a bar and have a drink or two with friends if she wants to?
Now if she was clearly tired and did NOT want to be there… that’s another story. But if it was effort at inclusion by a caretaker, and maybe she’d had a couple of drinks and was just enjoying the buzz. I don’t really see anything wrong with that.
I have a friend who’s son has Down’s Syndrome, and he loves a night at the bar. And he’d certainly be partaking. I’m sure there are others with Down’s Syndrome who would be overwhelmed with the noise and stimulus. They are individuals with different likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think it is worthwhile to make blanket statements.
I have a DS cousin that works at a hotel (of a major chain). I don’t know if she goes out drinking, but she’s been running the front desk for the last 5 or 10 years (maybe longer). I know she’s made employee of the month a few times and she just got rewarded with being there longer than any other employee.
While Down’s Syndrome folks have distinctive physical characteristics, there is a broad spectrum of intelligence. Many are main-streamed in school and do very well. Some do well in college*.
30 years ago, when a family had a baby with Trisomy 21** (AKA Down’s Syndrome), they were often told the baby would become a burden as it and the parents aged. Most were not expected to have the intellectual capacity to learn to read or write, so they stayed home. Many were institutionalized at a young age and never left.
Then schools were mandated to teach every child, as their mental capacity allowed. As it became apparent, usually to parents, that some of these children were capable of much more than they were being offered, some states further mandated they be tested, just like other “normal” kids.
I certainly doubt that, suddenly, in the mid '70s Down’s children became smarter.
*I have no cites, but this isn’t General Questions or Great Debates. The information, if you’re truely interested is on the 'net.
**Trisomy is just a way of describing chromosome abnormalities It means the individual has three chromosomes at site 21 rather than two. A monosomy is missing one of a pair. If anyone wants more information on the topic, here is the Human Genome Reasearch Institute’s site.
BTW, there are other, less common trisomies, 18, 13 come to mind. There may be others recognized by now. I’ve been out of the business for a few years.
On top of all that, back when my cousin (that I mentioned above) was born, the life expectency for a Downs baby was about 21 years old, IIRC. She’s somewhere in the area of my age (I’m 34) and doing just fine, so far as I know.
Looking at the wiki page, back in the 80’s, life expectancy was 20 years old, now it’s 50-60 years old.
I don’t know her very well at all, so I don’t know her details of her health, but I haven’t heard anything about her other than ‘oh she’s doing fine, still working at the hotel, etc’ type stuff, so I assume she’s got plenty of good years left (I’m very close with her grandfather).
Having said that, she does still live with her parents and I don’t think she could ever live alone. Her parents are still more than able to take care of her, but assuming she’s still living when they aren’t (or aren’t able to care for her), she, I would assume, will end up having to move in with one of her siblings or a group home.
So, yeah, she’s technically still a burden to her family, but not like one of those kids that’s 40 years old, 6 feet tall and has the mental capacity of a 5 year old that you walk by on the street with his mom and think ‘OMG I wonder what’s wrong with him’.
Considering she’s running the front desk of a hotel, I would assume she’s pretty high functioning as far as DS people go. But if you were to see her in a bar, it’s very clear that there’s something wrong with her and, in fact, you’d probably know that she has DS.
I think it’s normal to be concerned about a female with an intellectual disability in a bar setting, but it’s not like she was being drunkenly groped or otherwise being taken advantage of. It’s unfortunate, but there are people that would take advantage of her disability in that setting.
I don’t think it’s a big deal that she was in a bar or having a drink, especially since she had a companion with her.
Not all people with trisomies have the extra chromosome in every cell. Some have “mosaicism,” which means they have some normal cells. Some of these people have normal or near-normal (or normal, but at the low end of the range) intelligence. I went to high school with someone who had DS, but was really very intelligent. She graduated high school on time, albeit, she took resource, and none of the college-bound classes, but the peer group she hung out with was mostly college-bound, and she fit in pretty well, because she liked to read for pleasure, and go to movies. We weren’t close friends, but we had a lot of friends in common, and my aunt knew her mother.
She ended up getting an AA degree, although it took her three years, getting married, and raising a daughter, who is really a delightful person. She worked in her field for a while, then worked for a number of years at a Montessori school as a classroom aide.
I can totally see her at a bar, albeit, she’s probably too sensible to get drunk. She actually has more common sense that a lot of “normal” people I know.
I asked once, and was told that yes, she has mosaicism.
The average life-expectancy of people with DS is calculated by averaging all people, including those with congenital heart defects, which are fairly common, and those who die at birth from massive sets of defects (those babies DON’T have mosaicism). If you pull out those people (whose life expectancy is in their thirties without treatment, 50s or 60s with, depending on the exact nature of the defect), the people without heart defects have near-normal life-expectancies. They are slightly more likely to die of accidents of all types.
Not that it has a whole lot to do with this thread but it made me ask (my mom) for an update on this cousin’s heath. She’s 31 (so a few years younger than me) and, more or less, perfectly healthy. When I mentioned that many years ago she told me the life expectancy for DS kids was about 20 years old my mom said ‘well, that depends on if they have heart problems and [cousin] doesn’t have any heart problems’. From what I got from the conversation, she’s not going anywhere any time soon.