Doctor Dennis McGuire, PhD, Director of Psychosocial services at the Adult Down Syndrome Center of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois wrote an essay that is now famous in our community.
In “If People With Down Syndrome Ruled the World,” Dr. McGuire talks about The Center, and then describes a fictitious world where the imagination and creativity he’s found in his patients became the norm rather than the exception.
In a section titled “What About Self-Expression?” he lists some of his clients’ favorite television habits:
Classic TV hits would be very BIG and take up at least half the TV schedules.
“I Love Lucy,” “Happy Days,” “The Three Stooges,” etc. would be very BIG.
Wrestling would be very Big.
“Life Goes On” would also be very Big and replayed regularly
Our personal experience concurs with those observations and led to the creation of one of our first courses for self-advocates: “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble,” and eight week course about everything WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), including Monday Night Raw.
In our course “For The Love of Musicals,” we learn that “Rock of Ages” is an example of a jukebox musical – one that features music of a particular time period or artist.
One of the activities we offer is a chance to match the song from “Rock of Ages” to the original artist who made the song famous. In the film version of “Rock of Ages” – Harden My Heart is sung by Sherrie Christian played by Julianne Hough. The song was originally recorded by American rock group Quarterflash. This is one of 25 songs in the course activity.
In week 5 of our “For the Love of Musicals” course we look at four musicals that won Tony Awards.
One of those that we look at is “A Chorus Line.” We add a bit of exercise and fun to the unit by offering three YouTube videos that teach students dance moves. The chosen videos cater to beginners, advanced, and expert dancers.
Many adults with Down syndrome participated in some kind of “life skills” training during their school careers. In the Cooking and Nutrition course, we reinforce some of the knowledge gained in those courses.
In week 6 we have a matching quiz that tests student’s knowledge of kitchen action words. The quizzes in our courses are set up to reinforce positive answers, allowing them to keep trying until they get the correct answer.
We also look at abbreviations commonly used in the kitchen.