On my way home yesterday, I bumped into a pair of teens couple with Down syndrome, holding hands and walking ahead of me. Sweet is the only word that came to my mind then. I confess that I detour from my usual route just to enjoy this rare sweet scene, seeing that the gentleman wasn't attempting to be very intimate and close to the lady. He was just gently holding her hand, with no other body contact between them, frequently turning his head and acknowledging what the lady says. A big contrast to the usual scene where young guys without disability was seen hugging very tightly onto their girlfriend with frequent movement of hands all over their girlfriends' body.
While being engrossed in this romantic scene, images flash across my mind and I pray...
I pray that the couple ahead of me have strong supportive parents who are aware that the couple would require support throughout their life. They will need support from time to time when they face difficulties in work. They will need support when situations changed throughout their life stages. They need support in handling legal matters, in money matters, in financial and family planning.
I pray that they have access to professional counseling to know the implication of being together and their path ahead.
I pray that the community will accept them as a couple and gave them their blessing.
I pray that the couple will be sensible enough to know that their path ahead is not going to be easy and life is no longer just play and eat. They will need to work hard, eat healthily and exercise regularly to provide for their future. While life span for people with intellectual disability had lengthen, we are also seeing more cases of them suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure resulting from the lack of exercise, unhealthy and uncontrolled eating.
Maybe I am too sensitive. Maybe they are just friends without any plan to get intimate and get married. Maybe they have all my worries sorted out. Maybe...
For now, I can only hope that people are more supportive towards people with intellectual disability. Understand that they need our empathy more than our sympathy in supporting them through their life stages.