My New Favorite

Bradley Mattes   |   August 04, 2016

Navigating this world as a young adult can be brutal. For example, the dating scene can be a minefield of drama and emotion. This is a part of life experienced by most everyone—including young adults with Down syndrome.  They deal with the same issues as everyone else. If this surprises you, it shouldn’t.

And it won’t if you join a rapidly growing number of viewers discovering a new television series that lets you see why those with Down syndrome are just like you and me in most ways.

It’s becoming hugely popular.

born this way

The A&E Network is in its second season of production of the new TV series Born This Way. It takes you into the lives of a handful of young adults who happen to have Down syndrome (DS). And it’s opening the eyes, minds and hearts of viewers to the reality that people with DS can and should be mainstreamed into everyday society.

The popularity of the programs is a good sign in our society because currently 67% of unborn babies diagnosed with DS are aborted. This is especially tragic because, as Born This Way clearly demonstrates, individuals with Down syndrome (or “Up” syndrome as Steven likes to say) are a blessing and joy to be around.

The show has a colorful cast of people. John is a confident singer/rapper.  Rachel is the mother hen who, in her gentle and loving way, keeps everyone in line. Most of the drama comes from Elena who struggles more than the others with becoming an adult in today’s world. Elena was born in Japan to a mother, who by her own admission, took 20 years to come to terms with Elena’s DS.

As I watched the program, I found myself wishing I had Steven’s even optimism and personality and John’s confidence. I was impressed by the social graces of some in the group, likely well taught by their parents.  I witnessed a deft ability to deescalate tense situations, or rush to the needs of hurt feelings, gracefully turning the circumstances around.

At the same time, the program disperses any Pollyanna idea that those with DS are innocent, angelic people. They have faults just like the rest of us.

There are two reasons I’m so excited about Born This Way. One, I have a special place in my heart for people with Down syndrome and have hosted several episodes of our own Emmy© award winning TV series, Facing Life Head-On, featuring people with DS. Second, and most importantly, can you imagine how many babies may be spared abortion because of the education this TV program will do? And, consider how many people will see individuals with DS in a whole new light. The potential is enormous!

I became an instant fan of Born This Way and I know many of you will also. And in today’s busy world, if you miss the scheduled program or don’t have cable, you can watch online. I don’t want to miss finding out if Sean finds the girlfriend of his dreams!

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