DEAR ABBY: My daughter has Down syndrome. While I was still grieving over this fact, the kindest people were the ones who commented on her beautiful eyes. I didn't know if they knew she had Down's, and I didn't care. She has beautiful eyes, and I was grateful for the compliment.
Now when we go out in public, we are often approached by people who just have to show us how smart they are because they recognize Down syndrome. This is not a kindness! Don't tell me my daughter's wonderful personality is because "they" are "all so sweet." My daughter is a wonderful individual, not part of the great "they." She is also not deaf!
If people want to be kind, they should be kind. But don't tell us about their experiences with individuals who have Down syndrome. I don't tell them my experiences with insensitive jerks.
Abby, if you could print this, and if some people become aware of the hurt they cause, my daughter, other people with disabilities and I might all have less trouble navigating the stream of well-meaning, but hurtful, people. Thank you. -- HURT IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR HURT: You have said it very well. Thank you for a great letter.