The Road We’ve Shared has launched a new project. New online courses for adults who have Down syndrome are designed to support socialization and learning in adulthood.
Two online courses are set to begin October 1st in coordination with the beginning of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Stephanie Holland, founder of The Road We’ve Shared (The online community for parents and caregivers of adults with Down syndrome), and “The Road” Scholars online learning modules, has created courses that she believes will appeal to a large audience of adults with Down syndrome. She bases this on her own experience.
“My son, Joshua, (30 with Down syndrome) has been a fan of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and musicals of all types since he was very young. I’ve often thought that it would be nice for him to have someone to talk to about his interests. As we’ve met more families on the internet and at different conferences we’ve found that they seem to be popular throughout the community.”
Holland, who holds a Masters Degree in critical disability studies and focused on teaching and learning at the undergraduate level, is building the new project based on specific goals:
- Allow self-advocates to be the experts
- Provide opportunities to form friendships based on common interests
- Design course materials that allow for a wide spectrum of abilities
- Create an environment of understanding
- Support continued learning into adulthood
- Utilize free and low-cost internet-based resources to keep fees to a minimum
Allow self-advocates to be the expert – As adults, we all have our own hobbies and enjoy sharing our knowledge with others. By focusing on hobbies and interests rather than academic subjects, we allow students to be the experts and build on their self-confidence. The courses are also “gamified,” to allow students to earn digital badges for completion of different tasks.
Provide opportunities to form friendships based on common interests – Adults with Down syndrome can become isolated and lonely once they leave the public school system. (Usually at age 22). Social media helps bridge the gap but there are few resources designed specifically for the Down syndrome population.
Design course materials that allow for a wide spectrum of abilities – Like the general population, adults with Down syndrome have a wide variety of skills. The course materials center on video with limited text to allow people with different levels of intellectual ability to participate. Tasks that require reading and writing can be completed with minimum support from a caregiver.
Create an environment of understanding – While we do support full inclusion of adults with Down syndrome in the wider community, we recognize that as adults, we may choose to have a circle of friends that understand common issues. The courses will provide a safe space for those with Down syndrome to meet and form relationships that may continue after the course is finished.
Support continued learning into adulthood – Course activities are designed to be fun and educational. Each course includes opportunities for students to practice important skills like communication and self-expression. Each week students will complete the course work on their own and attend a “virtual classroom” meeting.
Utilize free, internet-based resources to keep costs down – Course fees are kept at a minimum to allow those with fixed, disability benefits, and lower incomes to participate. Scholarships and discounts for group enrollments are also available.
Registration is now open for the first two courses and the group encourages the community to offer suggestions for future courses.
“For The Love Of Musicals” – Begins October 1st – runs for six weeks.
Do you love musicals? During this course, we will talk about some of the great musicals that have appeared on Broadway and in movie theaters. From Funny Girl to Annie, Grease to Shrek! The Movie, we’ll cover lots of ground in six weeks. We’ll sing along, have some fun, and learn a few things by sharing our favorites with each other. (Enrollment: $21.00) For more information please see “For The Love Of Musicals – Parents and Caregivers Guide.”
“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” – Begins October 1st – runs for eight weeks.
Are you a WWE superfan? Join us to talk about and celebrate everything that the WWE Universe has to offer. (Enrollment: $21) For more information please see “Lets Get Ready to Rumble Parents Guide.”
“Over The Rainbow” – free mini-course on The Wizard of Oz, and adaptations (The Wiz, Wicked, Muppet’s Wizard of Oz). Explore the software environment and examples of course design before enrolling in a paid course.
All courses powered by Moodle and available on The Road Scholars.