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There are many reasons that Ethan Saylor died the night of January 12, 2013, and many things that were done improperly. In my mind, this tragedy could have been avoided had the 3 off-duty sheriff deputies known how to productively interact with members of their community diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Unfortunately, many in the law enforcement and first responder category still believe that Down Syndrome is a mental health condition. It is not – Down Syndrome is a genetic condition where an individual has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. As a result of having this extra chromosome, an individual can have any number of medical issues: ranging from heart conditions, breathing problems, hearing loss, leukemia, thyroid problems, speech impediments, etc. Additionally, nearly every person with Down Syndrome has slowed cognitive processes: while many can be as smart as the next person, the ability to process and respond…
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