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THEME: The theme of this portfolio is Down syndrome: The

Stigma Effect. This theme/topic can be linked to my academic career
and it can help my school work as it allowed me to strengthen my
research methods and techniques and it broadened my knowledge.
This topic can be linked to my future career as it taught me how
to work with people who are different and how to approach situations
that requires sensitivity.
PURPOSE: My interest was generated toward this topic as I
myself have a cousin with Down syndrome and I wanted to bring
awareness to the topic. Generally people can be apprehensive toward
people with Down syndrome as not much is known about Down
THREE SECTIONS OF THE PORTFOLIO: My portfolio is divided into three
sections: the expository, the reflective and the analytical. In the
expository section, I presented to my teacher a seven minute speech
on what can be considered the pertinent issues in “Down Syndrome:
The Stigma Effect”. In the reflective section I have created in the short
story genre the mandated one literary piece which is also directly
linked to my theme. The story entitled, “The Day I met John,” is
accompanied by a preface which gives an account of my purpose,
intended audience and the context where this story can be used
I have chosen to analyze the story in terms of registers
and dialectal variation. (can also do attitudes to language and
communicative behaviours)
The theme of stigmatization has academic relevance as after much in-
depth discussions with my peers whilst completing this assignment
have impacted on their world view of this situation. My Ethics class
has taken part in several lively discussions on this theme, examining
the overall effects it could have on its young victims.
Having decided that my future career will be in the field of
psychology I truly believe that the information and experience gained
here will help me in the future.
I hope that my work will sensitize my fellow school mates
towards people with Down syndrome and bring awareness to it. In my
portfolio the issues faced by people with Down Syndrome in Trinidad
will be discussed.

Down Syndrome can afflict anyone who has the propensity to be

afflicted and having Down Syndrome is not easy for children as in
many cases they are stigmatized and ostracized. In my piece the
intended audience is high school students both male and female
between the ages of 12-18 or members of a support group for new
parents with children with Down Syndrome.
CONTEXT: This poem can be presented at an assembly focusing
on people with disabilities or Down Syndrome to highlight the
importance of treating these victims of Down Syndrome with respects
that they deserve.
PURPOSE: In writing this story I wanted my friends and school
mates to be aware of the trials that families with a Down Syndrome
child are faced with on a regular basis and how they can help to
relieve their burden of stigmatization.
The Day I Met John

It was like any other Saturday morning in the grocery, my mother and I
walked along the aisles pushing our cart. Until I noticed a little boy,
about eight years old with twinkling brown eyes that glittered, as he
looked up at me “Hello beautiful” he smiled up at me. Before I could
reply I spotted this woman hurrying towards us, I realized that she was
his mother who was out of breath and frazzled from looking from him.
Reaching to hug him quickly she smiled and put out her hand to shake
mine as she said “Thank you Miss (Register) I’m so sorry he bothered
you but he tends to run away a lot” fidgeting as she said this refusing
to make eye contact.
“J.J, honey what do you say to the nice lady?” she prompted her son.
(Dialectal variation)
“Tank you, lady.
Quickly his mom corrected, “Not tank J.J (Register) it’s thank you. Do
you remember what I told you about what ‘th’ says? (Attitude to
Nodding he said softly, “Thank you, lady. Mih name is J.J and ah …I
have nine years, (Dialectal Variation)” putting out his hand and
smiling broadly up at me. His mom nodded.
Reaching down I took his hand and smiled, “I am Amanda, and I am
pleased to meet you, J.J.” (Dialectal variation)
His mom meanwhile continued to look around furtively as she pulled
her son closer (Communicative behviour) to her and I felt for her
because I knew from the instant I saw him, he was Down Syndrome.
“It’s ok I actually have a relative with the same condition’’ I whispered
The wrinkles in her forehead relaxed as she smiled (Comm
beh)“People are usually scared or uncomfortable around him, you are
one of the first person to not stare at him or run away from him”
reaching out to hold my hand.
I squeezed her hand before letting go to pat the head of her son
(Comm beh). What she said bothered me but I knew how cruel people
can be as I too had experienced the stares when I went out with my
cousin. It’s not a nice experience and to see it happening to this little
boy was heart breaking
As I pushed the cart I felt him following me. I looked at mom and she
smiled. I took his hand and as we walked we started talking about his
favourite food and television shows. His intelligence amazed me even
though every now and then he’d stop to ask me if he was saying his
sentences correctly. When I asked him why he was so anxious about
how he speak he said with his head bowed he said, “My mom said I
speak bad…badly” looking at me, he continued “She said I need to
speak properly.” I patted his head. (Attitude to language)
I noticed he got quiet as two the shoppers who were passing turned
around to stare at him, his eyes fell to the ground as he heard
“children like that don’t belong out in public”.
I pulled him along starting a new conversation quickly, “So J.J did you
play mas?” I asked.
( Dialectal variation) “Yes I sure did an ahhh…I wined dow de place”
starting to dance. “ I went to jump up an play mas!” he said loudly as
he proceeded to dance and jump up and sing his favourite soca song
“Palance! Jump up! Jump up! Jump and put your hands up!” he told me
he played mas with the Lady Hochoy Home.

As silly as it was he had me singing and dancing along with him. I was
smiling as I danced down the aisle I felt my heart beating loudly for this
little boy as he helped me fill my grocery cart and relate all his stories
to me. John even read the list of items on the list to me amazing me
with his intelligence again his mother came back to check on him as
we walked up the isle. John was such a charmer pointing up at me he
turned to his mom and shouted “’Manda (Register) is pretty” my face
turned red.
“I’m glad you met a new friend” his mom beamed.
“She not my friend she my girlfriend! ” he reached to hug me with a
burst of laughter.

As I looked at him all I thought was that I wished people could see this
side of kids like John. Not as monsters but as people they could talk to.
I was shaken out of my thoughts as he held my hand and said “Pretty,
you ok?”. Looking down at that precious face how could I not be.
Approaching the cashier I felt my mood sinking as I knew we would be
parting shortly. “John sweetie (Register) it’s time to go ” his mother

John and I hugged and said our good byes. As he was leaving in true
prince charming fashion he turned to and said “Dahlin call me
(Dialectal var and Register)” winking and turning on his heel he
walked out of the grocery this received many laughs from the other
shoppers and cashiers.
As I watched him hold his mother’s hand I knew I would never forget
him, I wondered if I would ever meet him again, I hoped that I would
but I knew that even if I did not see J.J again I would never forget the
day I met John.

• Tell which 2 of the 4 stipulated elements that you are
• Make a general statement about each element as an
introduction. As you write about each element ensure
that you give ample examples from your Reflective to
For example if you choose to analyze Dialectal
variation an intro may sound like this…
There are many reasons why a speaker may choose
one Dialect over another. For example a speaker may
choose the Standard of the language because he perceives
it as the language choice of the educated in this story...
For example if your choice is Registers your
introduction may
read like this…
Factors such as setting, audience, relationship and
content always influence a speaker’s choice of register. For
example if one was interacting with a clerk in a government
office one may choose a formal or even a consultative
register because firstly it’s official business and secondly the
person is a stranger to you. In this story the characters
utilized the formal, casual/informal and intimate registers.
(Give example/s of each of these registers and also give a
possible reason for each)

If your choice is Attitude to language then you may

say something like this…
In most instances in any given context the attitudes to
language of the persons are influenced by their perception
of language (Creole or Standard). Perceptions range
between pride and shame or negative or positive.
In this story the dominant attitudes to language are
(identify and give ample examples in support)

If your choice is Communicative Behaviours then your

introduction may sound like this
All communicative behaviours accompany a speakers
words (oar or written) so for example if a speaker was
speaking angrily to another person we would expect his
accompanying communicative behaviours to be something
like “ pounding his fist” or even (shouting loudly or even
speaking really softly).
In this story the characters displayed various communicative
behaviors, for
example when Amanda smiled at the woman when she first
met her ….
My reflective piece entitled “The Day I Met John” is about a young
boy named John. The narrator of the story Amanda meets John in
the grocery. This piece will analyze the dialectal variations,
registers, attitudes to language and communicative behaviors
employed in the writing of this story.
The dialectal variations are seen throughout the story. Mainly
with the character of John for example “Hello beautiful” this is in
Standard English. John uses this to introduce himself but later
switches to creole “dahlin call me”. These are examples of code
switching John uses Standard to introduce himself as he wants to
make a good impression and receive acceptance from others as he
knows how he is viewed by others and he thinks that by using
Standard he will be accepted.
John’s use of creole can be seen as he gets comfortable talking
with Amanda as he feels that she has accepted him showing us
that he usually speaks creole.
Although we see John code switching, his mother sticks to standard
throughout the story “Miss I’m so sorry he bothered you……” which
lends itself to a formal register. This is as a result of her of her not
knowing Amanda and also she’s feeling uncomfortable about
Amanda’s possible reaction to John. Another indicator being her
communicative behaviors “fidgeting as she said this”
But we see a change in John’s mothers register and body
language as she realizes that Amanda does not scorn John. “The
wrinkles in her forehead relaxed” show that she begins to relax
about the situation knowing that Amanda has accepted John her
register changes as well “I’m glad you met a new friend” to casual
register as she gets friendly with Amanda.
John mother’s choice in language in standard shows her attitude
to language that she is comfortable using standard. Amanda as
well feels comfortable with it “I’m Amanda nice to meet you”. This
shows that both they have a positive attitude to their choice in
language and communicate effectively.
John also uses communicative behaviors to show his feelings
when his eyes fell to the ground which shows that he felt
uncomfortable and saddened by the conversational the shoppers
where having about him.
In concluding the employment of dialectal variations,
communicative behaviors and language registers used by the
writer all add substance and credibility to the story.