Why This Father Says Having a Child With Down Syndrome is the “Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me”

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 26, 2016   |   12:20PM   |   Washington, DC

Robb Scott wants other people to realize that his son with Down syndrome is just as valuable a person as anyone else.

So, when he overheard another father tell his young son that Down syndrome is an illness of “not knowing anything,” Scott was moved to respond. He created a video message about his experiences with his son and explained why “Down syndrome is literally one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened” in his life.

According to ABC News, Scott lives in Truro, Nova Scotia with family, including his 5-year-old son, Turner, who has Down syndrome. The father said he was shopping one day when he overheard another father and his young son looking at movies. When the boy picked out a movie with a character who had Down syndrome, he asked his father, “What is Down syndrome?”

Scott said the father hesitated at first, then he told his son that it was “an illness” of “not knowing anything.” Though the father’s words were not malicious, Scott said they upset him a lot. Scott said he wanted to talk to the man and his son, but instead he left the store. In the car, Scott said he began to regret not taking the opportunity to talk to the family about Down syndrome. He decided to record a video on his smartphone to share what he was thinking.

“This child was genuinely asking, ‘What’s Down syndrome?’ — and this child is a blank slate,” Scott said in the video. “I let him understand it for something it wasn’t. I let his father define it for him and that hit me hard. This was a child — a child that’s my sons age; and I could’ve corrected him, not in a rude way, and I didn’t.”

“Down syndrome is literally one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened in my life,” he continued. “It’s fun, it’s brilliant, it’s amazing, it’s funny, it’s kind, it’s loving, it’s cuddly.”

Scott posted the short video to his Facebook page, hoping that a few people would watch it and gain a better understanding of the value of people with conditions like Down Syndrome.

“I believe people are teachers and learners,” he said in the video. “We’re both. We have the ability to teach things, and we’re here to learn things. A well-educated man does not have more to teach than my son. He has different things to teach, but he does not have more to teach.”

Down syndrome is “the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

Since posting the video, it has been viewed at least 1.5 million times, according to the Washington Post.

Misconceptions about conditions like Down syndrome are still pervasive in society; but because of beautiful videos like this, along with the work of pro-lifers and disability rights advocates, more people are recognizing that, no matter what a person’s abilities, every life is valuable.