I hope Rob from Sheffield won't mind my quoting at length his comment on my last post. He writes from experience of working with many people with Down's Syndrome, and although he agreed with my feeling that we are more tolerant of disabilities he warned against over-optimism:
'The problem seems to arise when families are no longer able to care for people who cannot independently cope physically and/or mentally. They then have to turn to charitable organisations or the State for residential care.
'Facilities are limited and a strong case has to be put forward for appropriate care. All to often people who have Downs are reliant on the determination and articulate presentation by parents, carers or advocates to get results! Like life, it is very much a lottery.
'Down's children are living much longer these days and whilst there are some, as with other disabilities, that can cope with life fairly independently to a good age, the infrastructure they/we rely on is not always that reliable!
'We have moved a long way with social integration, but there is still, in my opinion some distance to go.'
I take your point, Rob. It's well made and worth repeating.
And to be honest I think it's fundamentally more important than most that grabs the headlines these days - even than our economic woes, even though I must admit that I can foresee only increasing gloom on that front and a lot of personal misery, especially with those who can't afford it. It was with some astonishment that I heard about the troubles of the Large Hadron Collider (which I was so excited about, when it was launched). Apparently it was caused by a single electrical fault which caused a magnet to move, dislodging a whole lot more and releasing some helium. Repairing the damage is going to be long process and a costly one. 'A £14 million glitch' - some glitch! Quite like the economy, it occurs to me: bad sub-prime lending in the States triggers a domino-effect, engulfing the whole world. As John Donne said, 'No man is an island entire unto itself.' That repair will take a good while longer, I reckon.