Politics of Down Syndrome, The

Politics of Down Syndrome, The

The Politics of Down Syndrome is a call for people to think again about what it means to be inclusive, why we're hung up on the idea of intelligence and how an inclusive society is a better society.


Are we a more accepting society than ever before? Is there no longer a 'them and us' division between the disabled and 'everybody else'? The Politics of Down Syndrome looks at how we got to where we are, from the racist roots of its identification to the rising number of abortions today. Down syndrome is the most common form of learning disability, shared by all classes and races, yet it's one we rarely address our feelings about, head on. This book, although direct and questioning, takes a positive view about where we go from here and the opportunity for society to fully enjoy the benefits of being inclusive.

Fascinating - at last a concise, well written examination of Down syndrome Andy Merriman, Writer and broadcaster, co-author of BBC Radio 4 drama Minor Adjustment


Kieron Smith is the father of a child with down syndrome. Having experienced the struggles, hardships, and achievements that his family has encountered throughout the process of raising a child with a disability he casts a seasoned and critical eye on the level of acceptance that today's society allows with respect to people who are different. In his writing he gives the reader a perspective that many of us know very little about. ~ Social Design for Down Syndrome, http://www.sdfords.com/our-crew/

 My brother Henry may be severely mentally handicapped, but he is also very special; childlike; naive. He has no grasp of war or class or inequality. My parents have spent the best part of 20 years trying to ready him for the world, trying to imbue in him some sense of right and wrong; trying to make everything all right. It seems so strange then to consider that science will be able to commodify his condition, to make it a defect that can be removed. These issues form the core of a new book by Kieron Smith called The Politics of Down Syndrome. This book, for the first time, tackles stigma, inclusion and special needs in a head-on political manner. Reading it, I found myself drawing constant comparisons to Henry's life. Smith fights for inclusion and full social integration. What The Politics of Down Syndrome did make me realise is how far we've come as a society trying to understand special needs. ~ Lewis Irvine, Independent Newspaper

While this book is obviously of special interest to educators, social workers, and medical professionals, it is also an important book for feminists. Smith discusses issues like the discrimination against older women giving birth, and the way in which biased emphasis on prenatal screening for certain conditions influences the decision to terminate a pregnancy. (He does not take a pro or con stand on abortion.) Consider finding a place for this one on your shelves. It might appeal to more of your customers than you’d expect.  ~ Anna Jedrziewski, New Age Retailer

Smith has written an essay that will resonate with many parents. Perhaps too, many will take heed of his call to action, and as best they can, raise awareness of these issues. After all, given we are on the cusp of genetically identifying other conditions such as autism in utero the need to speak up as Smith has done and insist it is not acceptable to view people with Down syndrome or any disability as lesser can only become more pressing. And as Smith says, it is not acceptable to veer back towards exclusion. ~ Voice, the members' journal published by Down Syndrome NSW, http://www.dsansw.org.au/downloads/Review_-_The_politics_of_Down_syndrome_Voice_April_2012_web.pdf

Follow the link for a copy of this interview with author Kieron Smith. ~ New Left Project, http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_politics_of_down_syndrome

Thought provoking.  I recommend it. ~ AE, Newsbeat, Cerebra

A topical and current book, written by Kieron Smith, who is father to Tanzie who is 6 years old and has Down syndrome, this book looks at ‘hot topics’ that are regularly discussed in the media but rarely in any depth including how society views people with Down syndrome and how this has changed over the last century, antenatal testing and the implications of the developments in non-invasive testing procedures, education of children with Down syndrome, inclusion and Down syndrome: a cultural perspective All royalties from sales of the book will be donated to Down Syndrome Education International, who undertake vital research into the education of children with Down syndrome, benefitting families across the UK and worldwide. The book is available from all good bookshops including amazon and comes highly recommended by Parent Voice. ~ Parent Voice, http://www.parentvoice.info/en/News_Home_-_%E2%80%98The_politics_of_Down_Syndrome%E2%80%99

Follow the above link to see this interview. ~ Socialist Review, http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11880

Follow the above link to view this interview ~ Spiked, http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/reviewofbooks_preview/12065/

"...an excellent book and would be a very great addition to anyones collection." ~ DSA Journal , http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/

This is a timely book that is as important as it is unusual. The ‘problems’ of people with Down syndrome are often discussed – less so those of the world they find themselves in. Political decisions that profoundly affect (or even prematurely end) the lives of people with Down syndrome are taken by policymakers with little knowledge of the condition and almost always without asking people with Down syndrome what they think. This book highlights many of the prejudices behind these decisions, and many of their consequences. In so doing, it provokes a debate that is urgently needed – one that is not just about Down syndrome but about human differences, human diversity and the defence of individual human rights.

~ Frank Buckley, CEO Down Syndrome Education International

Fascinating - at last a concise, well written examination of Down's syndrome which not only presents a historical perspective and political analysis but has the added advantage of deriving from personal experience. ~ Andy Merriman, Writer and broadcaster, co-author of BBC Radio 4 drama \"Minor Adjustment\"

Kieron Smith
Kieron Smith Kieron is a non-executive Director of Down Syndrome Education International the world's leading academic research based Down syndrome charit...
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