“Noah’s Dad” is a guy named Rick Smith. Rick Smith is evidently studying to be a pastor and is married to a pediatrician. About a year ago, they welcomed their first child into the world, a bonny boy whom they named Noah.
With absolutely no previous experience in disability rights/advocacy or even parenting, Rick became “Noah’s Dad”, a self-professed expert in all things Down syndrome related. He spammed his blog onto online forums of which I am a member (and by the way: sharing a link to your blog isn’t spamming; posting 14 links in a single conversation is).
It was a little annoying and perhaps a little amusing in a ‘gosh, will he ever stop promoting himself?’ kind of way until he wrote a post that went viral – the post about the boy model with Down syndrome that Target hired. All of the sudden, he was the darling of mainstream media and he said lots and lots of rather astonishing nuggets of untruth like there was nothing positive about Down syndrome in existence when Noah was born…so he (- Rick Smith) started it! He said he couldn’t find any information about Down syndrome online! Couldn’t find any blogs! As a blogging friend retorted, when my daughter was born, I couldn’t find ‘one’ blog either…I found over 300!
All this, when he had been an active online forum member (until asked to leave because of his relentless spamming, that is), when he had himself relied on hundreds of other parents of kids with Down syndrome for information and support. And he said there was “nothing“! That he ‘saw this vacuum and decided to fill it‘.
To say that Noah’s Dad aroused ire within the Down syndrome community of which I am a part is a tad understating things. It’s more like everyone felt like they’d been walked over and then pooed upon.
What rubbed (and continues to rub) me seriously wrong is his habit of twisting support for Down syndrome or a life with Down syndrome to his needs. That is, he urges people to “like” photos of his son on facebook saying, “show that his life is worth living by “liking” this picture”. So….. if I don’t “like” the photo, I don’t think Noah should be alive? Are you kidding me? Are you for real, Rick Smith? How can you possibly think to weave a petty “like” into the worth of a life?
In all of this, I simply adore the sparkling humor that glitters over the Down syndrome community. Lexi (who shared her Short Bus post last week) wrote a post that I sincerely hopes goes viral, “What Did I Do Before Noah’s Dad?”
I love that the post really captures the feel that has blanketed many of us in the Down syndrome community… that somehow Rick Smith is the self-declared Messiah of Parenting a Child with Down syndrome. That, by his posts, his declarations, his statements, we should be looking to him for answers. Looking to him, this first time parent without any experience whatsoever with disability, and gain this profound understanding of um… parenting a child with Down syndrome!
It’s just so far-out, you gotta laugh.
|courtesy of Melissa Bush McKrola, creative cat|
So here – go ahead! Laugh away!
And while you are at it, here’s another one which also had me wishing I was a little more continent:
All in good fun, all in good fun – Patti’s friend made this – Patti has a son named Noah with 46 chromosomes (= typically developing). She joked, “it’s my new blog header. there just aren’t enough positive blogs about kids WITHOUT Ds out there. I saw the vacuum and decided to fill it.“
Please excuse me while I go to the bathroom because I’m still laughing so hard it’s unsafe.
Now, before any rabid Noah’s Dad fans come out of the woodwork an attack me for this post, I want to add: if Rick Smith has helped you, I’m happy. That’s good. If he’s made your life easier or better – more sparkly in some way – that’s awesome, mmm’kay? I’m not promoting hate here. Simply expressing my opinion. And you bet your bottom dollar I’m not going to ask you to “like” this post or “share” it to show that my daughter’s life has meaning.
I know that already.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.