Magic cures for a disabled child - would you do it?

Let’s say that here is magic land a cure for Down’s Syndrome has appeared. If it is used on a person with Down’s Syndrome, regardless of type or severity, they become a neuro-typical person with above average intelligence.

You are a parent. Your child has Down’s Syndrome - do you “magically” cure it? Your child won’t be the same child exactly afterwards - their personality might change, who knows? Not all children with Down’s Syndrome are equally disabled. Not all children with Down’s Syndrome want the same things. Some children with Down’s Syndrome grow up to adults who accept that Down’s Syndrome is part of who they are, who believe it’s important, that it offers them abilities and insights that neuro-typical people don’t have.

You’re the parent. Your infant, 3 y.o., 8 y.o. has just been diagnosed with Down Syndrome (here in hypothetical land) - do you magically cure it? Why or why not?

Yes, of course I magically cure it. I was reading the other thread, I can’t believe this is even a question anyone would answer “No, I’d keep my child the same”


Of course I would.

But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss the “old” son I’ve known his whole life. Or if not miss, I’d definitely would be a little apprehensive about the new son I’m getting.

But those things are all my problem. It would be awful selfish of me to forgo the magic cure just to make myself feel better.

My son is autistic FWIW.

OK, taking the upper age limit as being 8, like in your OP, rather than this being your disabled adult child, I’d ask their opinion if they were able to give me one and then I’d weight their opinion with my own. If they were too disabled to give me an opinion, then I’d do it. I’d rather risk them being neurotypical with all the life chances that gives them, and hating me forever for making that choice for them, than not giving them the chance of a full life. Their life is more important than my personal relationship with them. And if they’re only 8 years old then they won’t remember that much pre-change anyway.

Not sure you should have used the word “disabled” by itself though. That’s too wide-ranging, and your OP is about children with cognitive difficulties. I think that’s a different question to whether you’d give them back a full set of legs or take away their chronic pain or make them able to hear or see.

Yes, of course I would. Same thing if there was a magic cure for autism or deafness or blindness or a club foot or a cleft palate or any other disability.

Some differences are bad.


No, it doesn’t. There is nothing that a Down syndrome person can do that a neurotypical person can’t.


I’ve heard of, more than once, deaf parents not wanting to have their children get a surgery that would allow them to hear. Because it takes them out of the ‘community’ or something? I’ve never understood that myself.

You betcha, and since I don’t have my own Down’s kid I’d magic-cure my neighbor’s grandson. He’s 12 and fairly high functioning but his speech is difficult to understand, he has some temper and anger control issues (and he’s built like a tank, takes after his dad and he kinda scares people when he gets mad) and can be difficult to deal with because sometimes he gets physical. I don’t think he’d mind one bit and neither would his parents and grandparent–any change in personality would be more than offset by the greatly increased potential lifespan, let alone the intellectual gains. This is not even a difficult quandary!

qft +1

Of course. I’d cure any debilitating disorder, and screw the people who object to it.

It’s so easy to say yes, of course. Go ahead wave your magic wand and end this ordeal. But, what if the newly ‘cured’ child had side effects of his new cognition. What if he was despondent or angry at the world. What if he turns into a serial killer. The Downs syndrome people I have met are usually happy to the point of gleefullness. They make me smile when I see them at the library every week. They come to my corner just to say hi and ask questions. I don’t see why anybody would want to change them. BTW these are young adults not children. I assume thinking would be different on that level.

Okay, then turn it the other way. You have a surly child. Do you wave your magic wand and give them Downs Syndrome? Why not? If one type isn’t better off, neither is the other.

You are my new hero.

I think this is an argument against having children in general. They could be Hitler!

Yeah, may be. I don’t recommend it for the faint of heart.

Hell yes, and I’m actually inclined to be on the level with this one. If I could take a truly unhappy and thoroughly negative person and relieve them of their miserable view of the world I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. There would be drawbacks and uncertainty, of course, but the same risk applies to the OP hypothetical. I’ve been right, and I’ve been happy. I’ve never regretted the times when I was happy.

These are some of the wisest words ever spoken and I intend to spread them.

Whereas I’m leery of adopting a policy of making people happy by forcibly reducing their cognitive capacity.

Meh, Evil Geniuses over here, Benevolent Fools over there, and here I am with a magic wand and no ethical barriers imposed by the OP’s hypothetical… Picture this: you’re chillin’ with the Downs folks, sipping Pepsi and playing checkers, having a merry old time, and one of the smart grouches walks past muttering something about lazy retards under his breath…you know you’d wave that wand at him. Admit it.

Intellect and language are gifts to humanity, they are what raise us above the beasts. Folks who abuse or have no appreciation for those gifts are undeserving of them. One has an ethical duty to remove the cause of their unhappiness if given the opportunity.

So no bringing back ice pick lobotomies?

I knew a young woman who was deaf, who had the cochlear implants so she had some measure of hearing. Her mom told me there had been a number of deaf acquaintances that derided her for the surgery. She was an amazing young person, and as a black belt in Hawaiian Kempo style karate gave me some special tutoring before a couple of belt tests. Her life was a lot easier since she could hear.