With all the technological advancements taking place, there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of curing genetic diseases. This might seem like a good idea, and I am not going to deny that the people who are thinking about this idea have their hearts in the right place. However, I am not a hundred percent on board with this idea.
If I was someone who was born with down syndrome and found out that my parents used gene therapy to make me not have it anymore, I would feel like they would not have loved me if I had down syndrome. In fact, it would make me sad and maybe even a little mad. Here’s why: It would mean that they did something to change who I am.
Of course, a disability does not define who a person is, and a person with special needs is much more than that. However, there is no denying that if someone has a disability, it makes him or her special and unique. Something that makes you special and unique ultimately does make up a part of who you are. A disability does not make up every part of who a person is, but it does make up a small part. By taking away even a small part of what makes their child who she or he is, I feel like the parents are sending the message that they do not accept their son or daughter as he or she is. No matter what side you are on with this debate, I hope you can agree that parents should never ever send this type of message to their kids.
I am going to go a step farther and say that if a child finds out that his or her parents changed his or her genetic makeup, it will encourage them to change other things about himself or herself. What if the child decides to get a nose or boob job? What if it causes the child to feel extremely self-conscience? I know this might sound extreme but think about it. If a child finds out that she or he was supposed to have down syndrome but his or her parents prevented it from happening, is it too far-fetched to say that the child will consider what else the parents would want to change? What if the child starts feeling like if his or her parents had the option, they would change their genetic makeup to make them skinnier, taller, etc.
That being said, I completely understand that all these possible mental turmoil the child might experience are not the intention of the parents or the scientists behind this idea. I also realize that not all kids would feel this way. However, this does not change the fact that to some kids, this is the message that would be sent.
I do see the other side. Yes, living with a disability is a very difficult thing. I am not saying that things should not be done to prevent a child being born with a disability. However, once the baby is already born, I feel like the parents should just let fate take its course. Our path sometimes does not go as anticipated and instead of trying to change it, we should just hang on for the ride and let destiny take the wheel. Hopefully, once the child is born, they will still love him or her just as much. A couple of months will go by and the parents will not even think of the baby as a child with a special need, they will see him or her as their precious baby girl or boy who they would never dream of changing anything about.
Plus, we all have challenges. Nothing can change the fact that life’s going to throw lemons. Instead of trying to get rid of the lemons, we should make the lemonade! I don’t know how many of you know this, but I am in an adaptive P.E. class that works with kids with special needs. These amazing kids never fail to astound me! Despite the fact that they might have a difficult time doing certain things than others, it does not stop them from living happy, fun, joyful, and success lives. They can accomplish just as much, if not more at times, than other kids. One of my friends with special needs is one of the most coordinated and talented cheerleaders I know. Another is very smart with math. Two of them are in college and planning on getting jobs.
My point is that a disability affects you only if you let it. The kids that have disabilities never let it. There are no mountains they can not move or rivers they can not cross. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a disability, so why make it seem like as a society, we believe that there is?
A disability is by far not the worse thing that someone can have. Yet, curing it would require a lot of time, effort, resources, and money. Wouldn’t it make more sense to use all of that money, resources, and time to find a cure for something more serious like cancer?
Speaking of money, some people might argue that curing genetic disorders would help parents who cannot financially support a kid with special needs. However, think about how much money curing a genetic disorder would cost. Would the majority of the parents who are in financial problems be able to afford it? Probably not. If they can afford such an expensive procedure, they can afford to support a child with special needs.
I believe we all created the way we were for a reason. We don’t need to change something about ourselves before even saying our first word. If we could all see past people’s disability or anything else that makes him or her different and judge them based on their heart and soul, the world would be a much brighter place.