Having Down syndrome is like being born normal. I am just like you and you are just like me. We are all born in different ways, that is the way I can describe it. I have a normal life. Chris Burke

special-childrenMy late father was quite active with St. Martin de Porres, a school for special children. As a young child, my dad often told me how much smarter these special kids (in comparison to regular kids like myself) are for maximizing their brain potential. Some of us are just plain lazy to actually maximize our true potential. I found that out myself as I got older and wiser.

Earlier today, Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism sent me an email about a three-part report on the dilemmas we face when dealing with ““different” children, or the ““special” and the ““gifted” ones among them.

It is by now de rigueur, and politically correct, to avoid referring to them as ““abnormal” — a word laced with the bias of the majority who are supposed to be ““normal.” Societies in both the developed West and the developing East have since launched programs and services catering to the special needs of these children. However, if a nation has only limited resources, should the community devote more to the special children, or to the gifted? Indeed, how could we know how best to care for them?

But more than just a question of logistics, to the families who nurture and care for these children, many other dilemmas unfold daily – burden, blessing, joy, pain all the same most of the time. And in between, too, these families have to contend with people who respond differently, sometimes harshly, to children who are “different.”

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