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TED Talks: Tamara Taggart compares her son to a tumour to change how we think about people with special needs

B.C. broadcaster Tamara Taggart delivered a talk earlier this month as part of the TEDxSFU speaker series, “Redefining The Norm.” She starts her 15-minute presentation by explaining how doctors diagnosed her son Beckett (now seven years old) with Down syndrome. Despite the couple’s acceptance, Taggart says many doctors continued to treat their son’s diagnosis as something tragic.

She then compares her son’s diagnosis with her experience of having a 10-centimetre tumour removed from her small intestine.

“I went to go see the oncologist… He was loving and positive and empathetic and most of all, he was hopeful,” she says in the TEDx video. “He told me all the great things about having this tumor taken out of me…. He told me all of the great things it would bring me in my life and how my perspective would change.”

It was then that Taggart realized that the mentality of approaching people with special needs, needs to change.

“We were told all these horrible things (about Beckett), and yet my big ugly nasty tumor that nearly killed me was wrapped up in a lovely bow and everybody talked to me in such a positive manner,” she says.

“My son is not cancer, my son is not a tumor – not even close. He is the light of our lives.”

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