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“But what about her weight?”

One of my younger sisters recently went for her very first blood test. She’s 25. She has Downs’s syndrome and has never been tested, due to a combination of decent ongoing health and a large fear of needles. As I am her carer, we conquered that fear with me in the room with her and a promise of breakfast afterwards.

The reason she went for her first test was that my father was concerned she had never had one before and wanted to make sure everything was ok. He was also concerned about her weight and was convinced it was “unhealthy” for her.

Yes, she’s fat. It is relatively common in some people with Downs’s syndrome to be “overweight”. Some of their diets do have to be monitored, this is true. But, I argued with him, I make sure she eats perfectly healthily and she dances to her karaoke in her room every day, so she’s getting a lot of exercise (believe me, my bedroom is right next door and from the thumping and jumping I hear, she’s definitely moving her body around that room).

Imagine my father’s surprise when they received the blood test results to find everything was fine. Better than fine, the doctor noted that she had absolutely perfect results. The best results possible. When my father brought up her weight, again, the doctor stated, again, that as her test results were perfect and she seems to be exercising and eating well, he had no concerns about her weight. That shut my father up. Finally.

He’s never really had much to say about my weight, or our other sister’s weight. He just seems to focus on hers. I’m rather certain it’s to do with her disability that he thinks he can say things because he “worries”, but I still think it’s wrong and I still think despite her being intellectually disabled, she still takes those messages to heart. She has her own mind and even though she is not 100% able to make decisions on healthy food choices and has to be taught and monitored, does not mean that she isn’t capable.

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