What Down syndrome has to offer art education

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What Down syndrome has to offer art education
Robinson, Clint Justin
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Gainesville, Fla
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
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Project in lieu of thesis


Subjects / Keywords:
Art education ( jstor )
Art teachers ( jstor )
Arts ( jstor )
Child psychology ( jstor )
Disabilities ( jstor )
Down syndrome ( jstor )
Educational research ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Motor ability ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )


"What Down Syndrome Has to Offer Art Education" is a study of information currently available about teaching visual arts to learners with Down syndrome. This study attempts to answer the question, “How can art education engage the unique learning abilities of students with Down syndrome?” The study examines scholarly and educational literature on this topic, and shares my own knowledge through my analysis of selected existing resources concerning Down syndrome, my own auto ethnographic inquiry about teaching individuals with Down syndrome, and curriculum design. My study findings and outcomes are presented on my Website (, my Blog (, and my online Awareness paper (, and in this capstone paper. Taken together, these sites and documents present characteristics of learners with Down syndrome, suggest art-teaching strategies to engage these characteristics, and offer examples of these strategies, as they are adapted to current art lessons and activities. This capstone paper describes the research project itself, procedures I followed, findings, and recommendations.
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Art Education terminal project

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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887803859 ( OCLC )


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2 2012 Clint Justin Robinson




4 Summary of Capstone Project Present ed to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts WHAT DOWN SYNDROME HAS TO OFFER ART EDUCATION By Clint Justin Robinson AUGUST 2012 Chair: Elizabeth Delacruz Major: Art Education "What Down Syndrome Has to Offer Art Education" is a study of information currently available about teaching visual arts to learners with Down syndrome. This study attempts to answer the question, "How can art education engage the unique learning abilities of students with Down syndrome?" The study examines scholarly and educational literature on this topic, and shares my own knowledge through my analysis of selected existing resources concerning Down syndrome, my own auto ethnograp hic i nquiry about teaching individuals with Down


5 syndrome, and curriculum design. My study findings and outcomes are presented on my Website (, my Blog (, an d my online Awareness paper (, and in this capstone paper. Taken together, these sites and documents present characteristics of learners with Down syndrome, suggest art teaching strategies to e ngage these characteristics, and offer examples of these strategies, as they are adapted to current art lessons and activities. This capstone paper describes the research project itself, procedures I followed, findings, and recommendations.


6 Chapter 1: Int roduction "What Down Syndrome Has To Offer Art Education" is a study focusing on the special characteristics surrounding learners with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs in approximately 6,000 births annually and is characteriz ed genetically by having an extra twenty first chromosome (Ferrara, 1984). Down syndrome can cause mental and physical impairments that range between individuals. In the recent past there has been a push to integrate the art classroom with all levels of le arners (May, 1976; Nisenson, 2008). Practices of inclusion traditionally have a promoted a general approach to educating the differently abled learner. This study focuses on specific approaches to teaching learners with Down syndrome. Motivation In recent years individuals with Down syndrome have received a significant amount of press mentions, promoting positive awareness. Actors, artists and illustrators have taken the opportunity to create a place for these individuals through roles in Television shows like Glee and American Horror Story Illustrators at Monster Studios in Ireland have created a cartoon exploring the life of Punky a girl with Down syndrome (Monster Animation, 2010). Sesame Street includes children with Down syndrome. Authors Miller and Scott describe the use of individuals with Down syndrome as the topic of their paintings and as the artist themselves (Miller, 2005). I am motivated to conduct a study on this important topic for several reasons. My daughter, Callie, has Down syndrome, wh ich is fueling my advocacy for this community. As a father of a child with Down syndrome, I want my daughter and her peers to have every opportunity to successfully express themselves artistically. Second, I want individuals with Down syndrome to be recog nized as contributing members of society with an ability to perform, specifically within the arts. Third, I want society to realize the worth of individuals with Down syndrome through the integration of their story


7 within an art educational context. Indiv iduals with Down syndrome can make art, they can be expressive, they can have a voice ( Mason, Steedly, & Thormann 2008), and they do matter. Lastly, through the introduction of this social group within the art classroom, I hope to bring awareness to the f acts of Down syndrome and help remove ignorance about and prejudice toward individuals with Down syndrome. Problem Statement My attempts to locate relevant information about teaching art to students with Down syndrome or finding artists and themes relating to Down syndrome and art have generated limited but interesting results. Focusing my inquiry on artists with Down syndrome y ields writings and websites singularly on the artist Judith Scott, a world renowned fiber artist with Down syndrome (Smith, 2001). Changing the criteria of my search to, "teaching strategies for students with Down syndrome" has resulted in resources aimed at inclusion (Nisenson, 2008; Guay, 1995), special needs art education in general (Mason, 2006; Copeland, 1984), or other specific exceptionalities such as giftedness and Autism (Kay, 2008). These current educational resources are devoid of relevant teach ing strategies that can help art teachers and others tailor curricula to the unique characteristics of students with Down syndrome. Theoretical Basis for this Study As an art educator and a parent of a daughter with Down syndrome, I am always looking for ways to incorporate advocacy for the Down syndrome community within the classroom. Through my own research about how to incorporate teaching about and for learners with Down syndrome into my curriculum, I found a lack of information specific to educati ng learners with Down syndrome. Whenever I discuss this topic at length with other teachers and educational professionals, and I am repeatedly met with the suggestion that there is more (research) out there than I realize. My investigation indicates that academic research in reference to using Down


8 syndrome as a platform, or developing strategies to cater lessons to learners with Down syndrome, are grouped in with a general special education approach. Such research is usually presented as strategies for in clusion, ( Mason & Steedly 2006) ), strategies to accommodate the art classroom for special needs students (Vize, 2005), or projects geared toward supporting, exploring or referencing special needs artists. All of this research shares the lack of the same th ing: specificity Current art education research also lacks specific attention to educating learners with Down syndrome. I would argue here that potentially negative prejudice that society may have about people with Down syndrome is attributable to a lack of accurate, up to date, sensitively designed education. As indicated above, I have found a wealth of knowledge on special education and the arts in general, and numerous all encompassing approaches to educating and advocating with, and for, the special education population. Nevertheless, as Copeland observed in 1984, there has been a general lack of preparedness for art teachers to accommodate special education students (Copeland, 1984). My examination of current resources indicated that this omission co ntinues to this day. Current resources relating to my topic of interest make only general suggestions to assist teachers who are teaching special student populations. I also want to point out that both Copeland and current resources often generalize charac teristics of special needs students as an undifferentiated population and this is a particularly problematic common thread in resources relating to Down syndrome. I propose through my study to compare and contrast Down syndrome art education with these mor e generalized special needs art education resources, and to create a web based curriculum resource guide to aid visual art teachers in educating students with Down syndrome with attention to their unique characteristics. In addition, I propose to create an example of a supportive curriculum that promotes the acceptance of differences within


9 the regular education visual art classroom through both the introduction of Down syndrome themes and the exploration of a unique Down syndrome characteristic I have labe led, "acute emotional perception." As mentioned above, through a review of selected scholarly writings and available educational resources relating to Down syndrome and art education, I have found a severe lack of information regarding strategies for teach ing art to students with Down syndrome. My study also revealed a discrepancy in scholars' and practitioners' understandings about the perceptual abilities of individuals with Down syndrome. Specifically, I postulate the previously unidentified existence of a specific Down syndrome characteristic that individuals with Down syndrome may possess, which I have labeled "acute emotional perception." This characteristic not only has not been identified in the scholarly literature on Down syndrome, in fact, some of the experts' writings indicate the opposite. That is, some experts suggest that individuals with Down syndrome lack the ability to detect emotional perceptual cues from others. I explain this discrepancy in the following way. Researchers conducting studi es of individuals with Down syndrome may be strangers to the individuals studied, or individuals with Down syndrome may be participating in studies in clinical or unfamiliar sites, sites in which they may not be comfortable. In both instances, the individu als studied may not be exhibiting their normal perceptual and emotional behaviors. In order to specifically tailor teaching strategies, lessons or references, to these individuals, it is necessary to explore unique characteristics specific to Down syndro me. I have identified people with Down syndrome as having acute emotional perception (A.E.P.), which is a term I have created to describe as the intuitive ability to sense and respond to the emotional state of others around them. However, due to the cognit ive limitations of people with Down


10 syndrome, the ability to successfully express oneself is often either limited or misunderstood by others. Focusing on this acute emotional perception as a characteristic could lend itself to a wealth of curriculum and le arning experiences for all students. I argue there that expanding our understanding of the emotional and perceptual abilities of individuals with Down syndrome is key in facilitating their art education. Key Concepts Down syndrome is a condition identif ied by a chromosomal irregularity, usually present in the twenty first chromosome, characterized by mental and physical impairments. People with Down syndrome form a very specific community that crosses nationalities, races, gender, and income levels. Peop le with Down syndrome have specific learning needs. These needs differ from regular education students, and more specifically from other special needs or differently abled students. People with Down syndrome can be productive members of society if given ad equate education and opportunities. These individuals are sadly under represented in the arts, in part due to their small numbers and misconceptions about their abilities. Acute emotional perception (A.E.P.) is a characteristic attributed to individuals with Down syndrome. The term refers to a heightened ability of an individual to sense the emotional state of others. I propose that this characteristic (A.E.P.) can be utilized to promote awareness, acceptance and empathy towards the Down syndrome communi ty. Art education Teaching students to creatively express their ideas and experiences in a sensory way. Curriculum Courses or lessons designed and offered to educate individuals in a particular subject area.


11 Awareness Informed realization of charact eristics, ideas, or points of view that are different from the observer. Acceptance Welcoming differences between specific groups. Down syndrome artists, such as Judith Scott, have gained popularity within the art world. We can use the success of artist s such as Scott to promote the acceptance of differences within our own student communities. Empathy To understand, or be aware, of something. Questions and Methods of Research What Down Syndrome Has To Offer Art Education" addresses the question, "How can art education engage the unique learning abilities of students with Down syndrome?" Previous research on the topic of Down syndrome and art education led me to an investigation of the following additional sub questions: 1. What learning characteristics are specific to learners with Down syndrome? 2. Is acute emotional perception (A.E.P.) a real characteristic of individuals with Down syndrome and how can we utilize this in the classroom? 3. Do any resources exist that tailor art educational practices to learn ers with Down syndrome? Research Design The design of the study is a mixed method approach that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative strategies in gathering and evaluating available resources on Down syndrome and art education. My research will enco mpass an analysis of selected digital and print resources currently available that focus on the key words such as, "Down syndrome", "art education", "curriculum, awareness", "acceptance", "empathy", and "acute emotional perception". Current


12 writings, such as periodicals and websites, will be interpreted for information through a qualitative approach for relevance in building the proposed resource. Relevance of the writings will be determined in terms of how and how well the ideas of Down syndrome and art ed ucation are used. This analysis will be used to answer the above questions by applying my findings to the development of art curriculum adaptations that address learning styles and capabilities of learners with Down syndrome and by creating an organized on line resource for teachers and others who are interested in this topic. My research was informed by my earlier pilot study, which included organizing results of an online search of relevant websites into a matrix that categorizes a website's value to this study. The matrix answered six questions pertaining to the research topic, and if a website related to at least four of the six questions it was deemed usable in the research. Questions addressed in the pilot study were: Is the website about Down syndrome ? Is the website about art education? Is the website about an artist with Down syndrome? Is the website about using Down syndrome to teach art? Is the website about teaching individuals with Down syndrome? Is the website about using Down syndrome to teach art themes? If the website addresses issues of educating students with Down syndrome, is it relevant to our current understandings on Down syndrome.


13 Population I focused on what has been written in regards to a specific topic, that is, teaching art to le arners with Down syndrome. The product of the study can, and will, be used to support all learners with Down syndrome regardless of age. Analysis Resources will be evaluated for relevance to the study, resulting in development of resources that address an d support the specific learning needs of students with Down syndrome. The resources sought will specifically include qualities such as work already written describing learning characteristics of students with Down syndrome, techniques to teach art to stude nts with Down syndrome, and methods using Down syndrome as a resource in the typical classroom. Limitations of the Study This study is focused on one disability. As the father of a daughter with Down syndrome, my personal experience, knowledge, and bias towards teaching individuals with Down syndrome shapes and motivates my desire to create a legacy for my daughter and her peers. On the academic side, my research may take on a more personal character due to my personal and personal feelings on the topic. Summary and Significance of the Study My research project's primary purpose, in summary, is to build upon what is known about teaching individuals with Down syndrome, to correct inaccuracies and omissions in the literature on this topic, and the developmen t of a resource for teachers who are involved in educating students with Down syndrome (Robinson, 2011). I have proposed to do two things within my Capstone Project. First is to identify any specific learning strategies that can be used to educate the Dow n syndrome community within an art education context. I want to know what specific


14 tools or approaches we, as educators, need to employ for individuals with Down syndrome to be successful in the classroom. Focusing on the acute emotional perception I feel is the key to success. Second, I will present an approach within the secondary art education classroom to explore the idea of acute emotional perception to promote the acceptance of differences within typical peer groups. For example, I want to use the in dividual's ability to recognize emotion to teach other students the concept of celebrating, understanding and exploring the differences between people. Differences can include developmental, social, gender, and variables. Throughout this research process I have maintained a blog to document my inquiry. My blog brings together and shares scholarly texts, educational activities, and public materials I have found elsewhere, along with my ongoing questions, reflections, and findings ( http://downsyndromeandart. ). Based on my research, I have also produced an awareness packet designed for educators. This awareness packet includes information about Down syndrome, about how to teach children with Down syndrome, suggested curriculum modifications, an ad vocacy poster, and some one page printable lessons plans geared towards teaching art to students with Down syndrome. This information is now available and printable from the online site, ISSUU ( ). The information contained within my ISSUU site, my blog site, and this capstone paper will also be shared on my website ( ) and disseminated through my various social media networks, including Fac ebook, Twitter, and Art Education 2.0 Ning.


15 Chapter 2: Literature Review In conducting research on the topics of art education, Down syndrome, Acute Emotional Perception (A.E.P), and special needs curriculum, I looked for writings that addressed the s pecific needs of learners with Down syndrome, art practices that catered to learners with Down syndrome, and art projects based on either Down syndrome artists or acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome. I quickly discovered that current academic rese arch does not address the specific needs of learners with Down syndrome in an art environment; in fact, writings were overly generalized to encompass all of special education. This general overview provided strategies designed for the educator to teach any special needs student an art curriculum. It further revealed that learners with Down syndrome possess certain characteristics that can be used to aid in their understanding, and production, of art. The following is a summary of my findings starting with the academic research, followed by Down syndrome specific research, parent advocacy research and specific findings from artists with Down syndrome. My first reading was the book, "Art and Disability: The Social and Political Struggles Facing Education," b y Alice Wexler (2011). Wexler gives us a brief overview by introducing Viktor Lowenfeld, who played an integral role in the history of special needs education. "Viktor Lowenfeld emerged from WWII intent on building a more hopeful future for our children. H e introduced disability in the field of art education when it was not considered the responsibility of public schools to educate children who were other than the dominants group standard of normality" (Wexler, 2011, p. 3). Wexler goes on to share the ideas of Daniel Goleman, author of the bestselling 1995 book Emotional Intelligence but I feel that these ideas are presented as examples of what to avoid when teaching art to special needs students. "Goleman's statement is packed with implications about qualities that many disabilities, while diverse, share to a greater


16 or lesser extent depending on the individual and her circumstance. Two of these characteristics are self absorption and victimization, which often go hand in hand" (Wexler, p. 13). Wexler 's Art and Disability discusses several important ideas that surface in special needs education, each of which should be used to tailor our teaching practices with the intention of facilitating the best art experience possible for students. Four of her ch apters and main ideas are particularly relevant to teaching students with Down syndrome: Self Confirm. To self confirm is to know and value oneself. The idea of self affirmation that we ascribe certain emotions based on our own experiences. These emotions then become symbols of our life. "Symbolism of self, therefore, is an indication of growth. Lowenfeld said that art making is in itself learning because in the act of making art we engage with our world of experiences and, at the same time, find deeper re flections of that world as our ideas and responses become visible" (Wexler, p. 15). For a student with Down syndrome, self confirmation gives the student a venue to focus on their interests and strengths. Body Image is the sense of ones own body, physica lity, and worth. In art making any detachment of emotional connections to one's own body will trivialize the process and product of art making, thereby relegating the actions of art making to mere repetition. It is our duty to provide students with disabil ities an opportunity to develop their own positive body image through meaningful art activities. For a student with Down syndrome, attention to body image is particularly important because it reassures their self worth and importance in life. Sensory Syste m Revisited Senses are vital to the developmental growth of an individual. Our senses can be the key in getting students with disabilities to


17 experience the world. Sounds, colors, and textures all provide a tangible experience to our surroundings. For an individual with Down syndrome sensory experiences can be limited due to environment and exposure to different elements can engage their senses to initiate development. Integrity of Materials Attention to the properties and processes of materials are ben eficial because they are potentially healing. However materials need to be able to be transformed in order to have an impact on the child's psyche (Wexler, p. 21). Materials and their transformation can engage the inner voice of an individual allowing th em to develop through self reflection and awareness. For an individual with Down syndrome, attention to the properties of materials is important because it becomes a tool to express their inner ideas. Wexler discusses the specific reasons for, and approac hes to, educating learners with disabilities based on their specific special needs or learning exceptionality label. Unfortunately, here we see preference given to those "labels" (disabilities) that are higher in frequency in schools (such as ADHD and Auti sm). In truth, teaching strategies may overlap the specific needs of these different labels (disabilities). I argue here that we can adapt and modify curricular approaches identified for individuals with more frequently occurring learning exceptionalities to teaching learners with other learning exceptionalities and needs, with the goal of tailoring specific educational experiences for each individual so labeled with a particular disability. "Gross Motor Skills," a term used by Patricia Winders, "focuses on the basics skills and movements needed to make the child mobile such as standing, sitting, climbing, jumping, etc." (Winders, 1997, p. 1). A child's ability to develop gross motor skills is directly related to her/his ability to stand or sit at a worksp ace. Upon first reading and considering the


18 relationship of Gross Motor Skills to art education, I failed to see an immediate connection to teaching the child with Down syndrome. However, one of the biggest physical affects on learners with Down syndrome is Hypotonia Hypotonia is low muscle tone, and is associated with Down syndrome. It affects each child differently and can affect different parts of the body differently (Winders, 1997), but briefly, it manifests itself in people with Down syndrome by ha ving a lack of fine and gross motor control. Environment Will the student have trouble sitting upright at the table to create art? Changing the angle of the desk or simply making sure the seat or desk is the appropriate height will help count eract the affects of Hypotonia. Strength The lack of strength is attributed to the "increased flexibility in joints and ligaments that hold bones together have more slack than usual" (Winders, 1997, p. 2). Educators can build up a student's physical strength through repetition; however, students will have the tendency to resort to an easier movement to get the required results. Of other consideration is the tendency for medical problems (heart issues, upper respiratory, ear infections, and i ntestinal problems). It is important to make sure you are not overly exhausting the student (Winders, XII). Motivation Giving the learners an appropriate award for completing a task, but avoiding potentially negative rewards, such as food, w ill encourage the student to participate. Individuals with Down syndrome have a tendency to overeat and one of the characteristics associated with Down syndrome is a lower metabolism. Inappropriate motivators like food can amplify the affects of Hypotonia. During this learning time making the lessons matter ( quality over quantity ) can make a difference in the student's success. Some things to consider in this designation of


19 quality assignments are assuring the students are ready for the tasks at hand. Strategy This can be as simple as finding the right motivator and ensuring the student is working on tasks he needs to learn. These assignments can be alternated between difficult and easy tasks practicing learned skills and introducing new skills. Based on these considerations, things an educator should try when designing curriculum include giving greater attention to the student's environment; involving students in repetition of large muscle movements to develop strength; student interests; quality of their creative work instead of quantity; proper timing (is the student developmentally ready?); art strategies (what does she/he need to work on); structural consistency; alternating hard and easy tasks; motivating the student to learn then ref ining the learned skills; and most importantly practice the tasks yourself to understand what they involve. One of the most important concepts from this reading is the idea of the educator practicing the skills we are requiring our students to learn to ens ure we understand what exactly we are asking them to do, how the body will move in these situations, and how we need to address teaching these skills to our students. Fine Motor Skills Attention to fine motor skills is of particular importance to teaching learners with Down syndrome, and for this reason they are discussed separately here. Gross motor skills are defined as the core sections of the body's ability to move. When we consider fine motor skills we are considering the body's ability to manipulate tasks in small increments through the hands. In Fine Motor Skills for Children with Down Syndrome Maryanne Bruni (2006) defines motor skills as "small muscle movements in the hands" (p. 1). According Bruni, "The foundation of fine motor skills is stability bilateral coordination, and sensation. This leads to dexterity and dexterity leads to daily living skills" (Bruni, p. 33). By developing these fine motor skills, learners with Down


20 syndrome can start to explore and develop an expressive manner not limite d by the characteristics usually impacting their physical mobility. For example, by developing the control needed to balance one part of the body while moving a second part, a person can accomplish more tasks both in quantity and complexity. While completi ng tasks such as writing, drawing, and painting, a reduced need to focus on gross motor skills enables students to develop and refine these fine muscle movements. Further development of fine motor skills leads to bilateral coordination, which is the "effic ient use of both hands during an activity" (Bruni, 2006, p. 35). This may be as simple as drawing or painting with one hand while holding the paper or palette with the other. Fine motor skills are dependent on the development of sensation. "Sensation is k nowing where your fingers, hands and arms are without constant conscious attention to them" (Bruni, 2006, p. 33). Sensation can be categorized into traditionally recognized categories like vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch; but it may also include p roprioception, vestibular dexterity, daily living skills, visual motor skills, self help skills, household skills, and leisure skills. "Proprioception is the sense of joint position and movement, perceived by nerves in the joints, tendons and muscles" (Bru ni, p. 172). "Vestibular system refers to the sense that tells us the direction and speed of movement and position of our head in relation to gravity" (Bruni, p. 172). "Dexterity allows us to make small precise accurate and efficient movements with our han ds without tremendous effort" (Bruni, p. 77). "Daily living skills are functional skills used everyday" (Bruni, p. 27). "Visual motor skills refer to printing, coloring cutting, drawing, writing and computer skills" (Bruni, p. 105). "Self help skills such as dressing, eating and grooming" (Bruni, p. 147). "Household and leisure skills include routine chores and hobbies" (Bruni, p. 163).


21 Skills from each skill set or level discussed above can facilitate one another, allowing continuous improvemen t aiding in the learner becoming more independent, aware of his surroundings, and socially productive. Teachers can include in their lessons opportunities for students to work on building some of these skills through fine motor work and by ensuring the lea rner is cognitively ready to learn the task at hand. Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor skills, Developmental Readiness, and Tactile Learning Individuals with Down syndrome are cognitively or developmentally slower or at least different than learners that do not have Down syndrome. Understanding when they are ready is crucial in successfully presenting new skills. When presenting new skills, teachers should segment the information in smaller increments adjusting to their individual attention spans, repeating the tasks to ensure long term understanding, and present the material in a multisensory approach. We can check for student's cognitive readiness by demonstrating a task and if they show attention they are usually ready. Fine motor skills ar e something to work on after the basic gross motor skills have been achieved. Each new skill set, leading to the students being able to manipulate the body in small precise increments, will enhance their ability to successfully participate in the arts. Spe cific strategies for building the skills are easy for the teacher overlooked, but attention to these strategies, both gross motor and fine motor, can be incorporated into any curriculum to aid in the student's success. This includes inclusion of specific m ulti sensory learning experiences. Individuals with Down syndrome are traditionally tactile learners as opposed to verbal learners. Presenting learning objectives in a way that allows them to hold, manipulate, or see a physical change in an object will he lp their success in educational endeavors. The visual and tactile aspects are most relevant to learners with Down syndrome are thought to be due to their


22 delayed language skills. Learning Characteristics of People with Down Syndrome: Capitalizing on the Visual The website,, has several articles that discuss the learning characteristics of those with Down syndrome and their ability to interpret emotions based on visual cues. The first article I reviewed, "Accessing the curriculum Strat egies for differentiation for pupils with Down syndrome" by Bird, Alton and McKinnon, maintained that students with Down syndrome respond better in learning situations when good visual supports are present. As these authors observe: Most individuals learn from good visual analogies or icons, from colored, eye catching, illustrations and objects that support spoken or written information, and from doing activities 'for real'. People benefit from multi sensory experiences and images to develop their understan ding and remembering, so children with Down syndrome are not unique in benefiting from these teaching and learning experiences. (Bird, Alton and McKinnon, 2000, 2, The following are additional instructional strategies and tasks identified by Bird, Alton and McKinnon that I believe will benefit both students with and without Down syndrome. Reduce the speech and language demands of tasks Reduce the fine motor skills d emands of tasks Reduce the amount of work and/or time spent in sustained concentration Support memory skills, with pictures, lists and text Bird suggests a whole school inclusion method, with teachers having an open minded approach to alternative instruct ional methods, would be an ideal place to start the process of adapting learning strategies for students with special needs and specifically students with Down


23 syndrome (Bird, 2000). She provides a checklist to aid in successfully planning curriculum for students with Down syndrome (Appendix A). In conclusion, Bird, Alton and McKinnon are suggesting that we produce learning materials and strategies that focus on a visual strategy, while keeping unnecessary elements from the instruction and reinforcing t he most important elements that will lead to a student's understanding. Acute Emotional Perception The following discussion derived from other sources support my claim of acute emotional perception and offer strategies for modifying the curriculum specif ically for learners with Down syndrome. In brief, curriculum modifications should include simplifying tasks to their most meaningful parts, providing repetition, and using visual elements. In "A Lifetime of Beating the Odds" H. H. Baker (2007) explored f actors that influenced the longevity of Byron Seibold, the oldest living individual with Down syndrome who showed no signs of dementia. Sadly, after Baker's article was published Mr. Seibold passed away from complications of a hip surgery. He was 70 year s old. Why was this individual so successful at living a long productive life with little signs of the common ailments often afflicting individuals with Down syndrome? The first factor described was his parent's insistence that Byron be raised with the rest of his siblings in the same fashion, unlike his peers at the time, who were generally institutionalized. Byron was treated like his siblings and educated on how to b ehave and interact with others. His parents were also instrumental in helping start one of the first schools for special needs students in their hometown. When he was finished with school Bryan went to work doing simple assembly and shipping tasks, which h e continued to do throughout his 1 Individuals with Down syndrome typically suffer symptoms similar to Alzheimer's at an early age such as dementia and memory loss.


24 life. Another of the aspects that also stood out was Bryan's relationship with his father. They would hunt and fish together, were viewed as friends, and were inseparable. When his parents died in 1977 Bryan handled the t ransition with maturity and confidence, reassuring his family that everything would be okay and that he would continue to live his life from a community living center. Baker presents this story as a testament to what an individual with Down syndrome can achieve given the same opportunities as a typical person. Mr. Seibold was a productive member of society and defied convention because of his rich parental and family support and his continued engagement in life. He was not simply put in an institution li ke so many disabled individuals were at the time. Bryan Siebold's story helps support my A.E.P. claim by illustrating his success in a variety of situations. Throughout his life he was given the same opportunities as everyone else, and certainly more so th an most other individuals with Down syndrome of his time. His interaction with and support from his family is of high significance here as well. Bryan was not viewed as delayed or unable to comprehend emotions or situations, but rather competent enough to appropriately respond to times of distress, such as the death of his parents. He was emotionally well connected to his parents, and emotionally perceptive and mature in adulthood. In another article titled, "Accounting for the Down Syndrome Advantage," A J. Esbensen and M. M. Seltzer present findings that may shed further light on the emotional development of children with Down syndrome. Esbensen and Seltzer suggest that mothers of children with Down syndrome have an advantage over mothers of children wi th other disabilities, in terms of the mental and emotional well being of these children. Esbensen and Seltzer find "extensive evidence that mothers of young children with Down syndrome experience lower levels of stress (Kasari & Sigman, 1997; Marcovitch, et al., 1986, as cited in Esbensen &


25 Seltzer, 2011), more extensive and satisfying networks of social support (Hauser Cram et al., 2001; Shonkoff et al., 1992 as cited in Esbensen & Seltzer, 2011), and less pessimism about their children's future (Fidl er et al., 2000, as cited in Esbensen & Seltzer, 2011), and they perceive their children to have less difficult temperaments (Kasari & Sigman, 1997, as cited in Esbensen & Seltzer, 2011). Families with a child with Down syndrome are also more cohesive an d harmonious than families of children with other types of intellectual and developmental disabilities (Mink, Nihira, & Meyers, 1983, as cited in Esbensen & Seltzer, 2011). In looking at the Down syndrome advantage in more detail, the authors suggest that there is evidence of more closeness in the mother child relationship, and fewer mother depressive symptoms. These mothers have also been more likely to perceive that the child reciprocated feelings of closeness compared with mothers of adolescents with oth er types of intellectual and developmental disabilities (Abbeduto et al., 2004 as cited in Esbensen & Seltzer, 2011). Esbensen and Seltzer attribute this advantage to the mother's age and maturity level along with an abundance of support groups specifica lly for Down syndrome. In a within group analysis, Esbensen and Seltzer inform us that it would be possible to assess whether mothers who were older at the age of the birth of their child with Down syndrome would have better well being than mothers who wer e younger (2011). Another explanation that is frequently offered for the Down syndrome advantage is that mothers of individuals with Down syndrome have greater access to syndrome specific support groups than mothers of individuals with other types of intel lectual and developmental disabilities. Support groups for a particular syndrome provide families with information pertinent to their child's specific behaviors and characteristics, offer mothers social support, and can lead to more adaptive coping. I woul d add to these authors' observations and speculations an additional explanation for the closeness of the primary familial relations within a


26 family of a child with Down syndrome, and the subsequent adaptive success of the children. Parents with children th at have Down syndrome have committed to raise the child regardless of a diagnosis. These parents are of a mind set that their children are important and take necessary steps to educate and prepare themselves for Down syndrome. Down syndrome parents take th e necessary steps to prepare their lives and the lives of their children for success. This dedication can become the deciding factor in understanding that emotional connection between parents and children with Down syndrome. In summary, Esbensen and Selt zer presents findings that support my idea of increased A.E.P. in children with Down syndrome. Insofar as mothers and their children with Down syndrome have a very close relationship and emotional connection benefiting both child and mother there is a grea ter likely hood that individuals with Down syndrome can both sense and influence the emotional state of people they share close relationships with. Their findings that people with Down syndrome are quite capable and aware, are further confirmed in "An Hour with Penny," a story retold by A.J. Becker (2010) who recounts an interaction between a three year old with Down syndrome named Penny, and four medical students on an assignment to learn about people with disabilities. The four medical students originally held a low view of people with disabilities. These students changed their perspective after interacting with Penny, and better understood the value of all people, specifically those with disabilities. The story goes on to parallel their interaction with s cripture from the Bible, and how the worth of someone lays with their relationship to God, not their status on earth. Finally, in "Learning to Control Those Emotions," Ann Wheeler (2007) discusses the importance of teaching learners with intellectual 2 I would observe here that the parallel analysis of the medical students' understanding of Down syndrome in relation to the gospel reading may be meaningful in its own right, it is not specifically relevant to understanding and research on the idea of the Acute Emotion Perception (A.E.P) of people with Down syndrome.


27 disa bilities an understanding of emotion words. Wheeler claims that understanding the basic emotions (happy, sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed) are critical in the student being able to communicate. Learning to communicate these emotions will enable the lea rner to avoid emotional outbursts while engaging in appropriate behavior with instructors and peers. Contradictions on the Question of the Existence of A.E.P. Interestingly, some articles have argued that emotional perceptual recognition abilities amongst individuals with Down syndrome is lacking. For example, in the study, Emotion Recognition by Children with Down Syndrome," children with Down syndrome were compared to typical children in the task of recognizing facial emotions through a series of picture s (Kasari, 2001). These pictures depicted four basic emotions (happiness, anger, fear, and sadness). In the study the older in age a student with Down syndrome was the less able he was to recognize facial expressions and emotions. The researchers claim tha t students with Down syndrome show an impaired ability to identify emotions and suggested further study to assess the true nature of their ability. In another study, "Perceptual Motor Deficits in Children with Down syndrome: Implications for Intervention," researchers identified that students with Down syndrome had the ability to recognize the motions of a person simultaneously viewed with the same action being performed through a point light simulation (Virji Babul, 2012). Point light simulation is where l ights are connected to the joints of a person, and then presented on a dark background. The lights trace the motions of the individuals as they moved around. The second part of the study presented subjects with Down syndrome with point light simulations o f body movement that represented emotions such as happy, scared, and angry. Researchers concluded that learners with Down syndrome had difficulty in ascribing an emotion to the point light simulations.


28 I attribute contrary finding regarding to acute emoti onal perception to several possible reasons. First, the participants being observed are often observed in a clinical setting in which their stress levels rise, feelings of security are lower, and natural defense mechanisms might cause them to withdraw emot ionally. In other words, observing learners in an unfamiliar environment that can lead to misleading results. Second, strangers often perform the observations or tests, which further produces anxiety in the subject and leads to underperforming results. Fin ally, some tests of subjects in clinical settings are complex and rather abstract, which goes against the suggested teaching strategies for learners with Down syndrome. For example, in the study in which pictures were presented (Kasari, 2001), the study wa s organized in a way that asked the subjects to perform an abstract and decontextualized task (Identifying the emotional expression of a stranger based on a single picture). The study in which subjects were asked to identify the emotions being expressed by individuals wearing point light sensory apparatus is contradictory to the learning characteristics associated with individuals with Down syndrome. Here the subjects were presented with abstract representations of emotions through a series of white lights. Contrary to the kinds of studies that suggest low emotional perceptual abilities of people with Down syndrome, different observations from parents of children with Down syndrome are just beginning to become available in the form of blogs and self forming support groups, and these counter indications are not necessarily published in the academic presses. These parental descriptions characterize children with Down syndrome as attentive, cued in, and highly sensitive to their (the parents') emotional states. My point here is that abstract tasks, decontextualized from the familiar, familial, or natural settings of individuals with Down syndrome may not accurately describe their emotional perceptual abilities. I would even go so


29 far as to claim that teachers in self contained classrooms of children with Down syndrome might similarly find these children to be emotionally perceptive and responsive to stimuli, but also that understanding the abilities and preferences for familiarity and emotional connectedness tend encies of learners with Down syndrome is an essential element of teaching and designing learning experiences for these children.


30 Chapter 3: Methodology "What Down syndrome has to offer Art Education" started as an inquiry into the resources available for teachers to tailor curriculum to the specific needs of students with Down syndrome. My motivation stemmed from having a daughter with Down syndrome, wanting to make sure that resources are available for her and her peers, and from being an art teacher looking for ways to adapt art curriculum and strategies to include the idea of Down syndrome in the art classroom. Prior to this study, I read publications on cognitive and physical development of children with Down syndrome and looked into artists that ha d Down syndrome (for references in my classroom). I asked my local high school National Art Honor Society students make and show paintings that were meant to educate and bring awareness to the community on Down syndrome. By inadvertently starting a study o n Down syndrome I decided to delve deeper into specific characteristics of learners with Down syndrome and base my research on both my findings and experiences with Down syndrome as a parent, an educator, and now a researcher. I started the task of resear ching Down syndrome and Art education by asking myself, "How do I first identify, and then design, curriculum to learners with Down syndrome?" The obvious choice was to search for articles, publications, and books that contained the terms "Art education" a nd "Down syndrome." At this point I wanted to aim my research specifically towards Down syndrome. However, my inquiries resulted in something different. Research focusing specifically on Down syndrome and art education is scant. What I found instead was a plethora of resources that revolved around special needs. That was the eye opener. Material about special needs appeared to have either categorized Down syndrome as a general "special need" or grouped it with "intellectually disabled." There was never ment ion of specific curriculum goals or teaching strategies in the art room for children with Down syndrome.


31 If this information did not exist, I wasn't sure how I was going to decide what methods for curriculum modification and learning strategies would bes t suit learners with Down syndrome. I had to come up with a new plan of action, and in order to fulfill this plan I developed and answered a series of research questions. The following questions initially directed my inquiry. o What has been written about Do wn syndrome combined with art education? o Why is Down syndrome an addition to special needs art education? o Why doesn't art education for individuals with Down syndrome have its own research and resources? o What factors have contributed to the lack of art ed ucation research in relation to Down syndrome? o What methods work for teaching learners with Down syndrome? o What special learning characteristics are associated with Down syndrome? In my quest for answers, I discovered a characteristic associated with Down syndrome that is discussed differently by researchers and parents. Through observations of my own daughter, and discussions with other parents, I validated the idea that individuals with Down syndrome possess an innate ability to sense the emotions of o thers, which I termed Acute Emotional Perception (A.E.P.) This idea was explained by one parent who stated, "He knows where I am at emotionally" and another stated, "She knows when I am feeling down and gives me a hug to pick me up." A.E.P. is an indiv idual's ability to sense, and affectionately respond to, our current non verbalized emotional state. I thought this was a key characteristic to educating learners with Down syndrome within the arts. We could use this characteristic, this


32 emotional sensitiv ity, to present ideas to these learners and build a means allowing them to express themselves and develop their voice. I decided to focus the direction of my research on this emotional understanding. What has been written about learners with Down syndrom e's ability to understand emotions? Initially some of the research I found claimed that learners with Down syndrome had a lessened ability to understand emotions. After probing further into these studies, I came to the conclusion that the research did not measure the students' understanding of emotion in the way I was suggesting. Previous studies did not measure the students' understanding of emotions exhibited by individuals, but rather their understanding specific emotional features presented in a rather abstracted manner. The first problem I saw with this sort of study is that the methods for presenting emotion were very abstract for the students. Second, researchers performed each study with groups of children they had no prior relationship with. One o f the characteristics attributed to individuals with Down syndrome is that of trust. Individuals with Down syndrome typically need to share a level trust bordering on intimate in order for observers to obtain a true measure of emotional understanding. As a result, I decided to enquire what the experts in special needs thought about this idea of Acute Emotional Perception. As opportunities presented themselves, I also started engaging in conversations with individuals that are considered to be experts on spe cial needs, experts on Down syndrome or advocates for Down syndrome. Conversations with the experts and advocates supported my claims that learners with Down syndrome possessed a special ability to interpret emotions, but lacked an ability to adequately ex press them verbally. My next step in designing, "What Down Syndrome Has to Offer Art Education," was to find out w hat learning and teaching characteristics are specifically beneficial to students with


33 Down syndrome. I turned to publications written for pa rents and educators, both online and in print, regarding what to expect developmentally from their children in the areas of gross and fine motor skills. In these writings, I looked for approaches that catered to the development of cognitive and physical s kills, which are typically delayed in learners with Down syndrome. These publications presented additional needs of learners with Down syndrome due these delays and methods that addressed developmental delays in varying learning environments. The strategie s did include art techniques, but were not specifically geared toward art education or art production. Now that I had defined my problem, found evidence that both informed my research problem and exacerbated the problem, l was able to identify and build on expert opinions and strategies that could be used in designing a curriculum for learners with Down syndrome in the art classroom. Wanting to adapt art lessons to the specific needs of Down syndrome I turned to the Internet. I wanted to find visual art lessons that contained characteristics I felt would be beneficial to learners specifically with Down syndrome. As a result of this phase of my inquiry, I identified that the lessons needed to have a focus on the following skills: 1. Gross motor skills that e ncourage movement. 2. Creativity and not specific realistic image making (such as recreating a detailed portrait). 3. Tactile qualities that also incorporate other senses (hearing, sight, touch). 4. Repetition of actions in order to practice and build upon preexisting skills (gross and fine motor skills). 5. Multiple techniques and mediums to foster a genuine learning experience.


34 6. An opportunity for the students to incorporate their sense of emotions and convey them through a visual product. In my research, I also uncovered some interesting resources that provided examples of artists with Down syndrome at work, and artistic educational experiences for individuals with Down syndrome. None of these resources offered lesson examples for exploring emotion or adaptations to curriculum aimed at developing the cognitive and physical skills of learners with Down syndrome. Many of the findings on Down syndrome offered mere references to the idea of Down syndrome or some good deed being performed in supp ort of individuals with Down syndrome. Findings that did not focus on specific learning characteristics (physical, cognitive and emotional) were not considered as justified content for analysis or utilization in my research. Also important to mention in this summary of my methodology is the idea of engaging autoethnography as a method of inquiry. My personal experiences as a parent and an educator to children with Down syndrome were interwoven through the research. Personal insight, I feel, is relative t o understanding and addressing the specific needs of learners with Down syndrome if, for no other reason, because trust in crucial to the success of individuals with Down syndrome as evidenced in the discrepancies between results on emotional understanding studies.


35 Chapter 4: Discussion of Findings "What Down syndrome has to Offer Art Education" is a study on the current information available for specifically tailoring art education to the learning characteristics of students with Down syndrome. This beg an with an inquiry into scholarly periodicals and online publications on what has been written about Down syndrome and art education. Through my research, I uncovered another topic related to Down syndrome education that had not been fully researched. I di scovered that in family or familial contexts people with Down syndrome seemingly possess the ability to recognize and interpret emotions. Motivated by my findings and my own personal experiences I decided to pursue curriculum adaptations for learners with Down syndrome and better understand their ability to interpret emotional cues. My study revealed a void in the available literature discussing art educational practices for learners with Down syndrome. This deficit manifested itself in two ways. First, in formation regarding curriculum or teaching strategies for Down syndrome grouped individuals with Down syndrome into a catchall category encompassing a generalize special needs approach to art education. None of the findings presented curriculum lessons or strategies specifically aimed at learners with Down syndrome. Second, several of the findings suggested that learners with Down syndrome lacked an ability to interpret emotional cues. In both instances, further exploration and consideration need to be app lied to adapting art curriculum to learners with Down syndrome and confirming that learners with Down syndrome can adequately interpret emotional cues. Emotional Recognition Kasari, Freeman, and Hughes conducted the study, "Emotion Recognition in Childre n with Down Syndrome," that measured children labeled as typical, mentally retarded, and Down


36 syndrome and their ability to recognize simple emotions. Their findings indicated that all of the children performed similarly at the three year developmental sta ge. When a comparison was done at the four year developmental mark, children with Down syndrome scored lower than the other two control groups. Virji Babul, Kerns, Zhou, Kapur and Shiffrar conducted the study, "Perceptual Motor Deficits in Children with Do wn Syndrome," which compared the ability of children with and without Down syndrome to understand emotion. This study was based on a series of points of light moving in "interpretive dancers' interpretation of emotions" Virji Babul, Kerns, Zhou, Kapur and Shiffrar (2006). In both studies (emotion recognition and perceptual motor deficits) the researchers created a study intended to measure the emotional understanding of children with Down syndrome. In both cases, the studies claimed to find a deficit in t he children with Down syndrome's ability to understand emotion. Several factors stood out in these studies that discredited the findings of the researchers from the perspective of a parent, teacher, and advocate. First, one of the characteristics identifie d in this research was the idea that individuals with Down syndrome require a higher level of trust with peers and authority figures before they are willing to express themselves completely. In these studies, strangers performed each one in a clinical sett ing. Second, each study measured the student's ability to interpret emotion by presenting examples of emotion in an abstract, higher order thinking method, to younger children. Again, this went against the suggested learning methods preferred by individual s with Down syndrome: direct instruction with visual supports, broken down into small steps, with repetition and familiar surroundings. Finally, these studies only attempted to measure a complex understanding of an abstract idea in young people with cogni tive disabilities twice. The studies did not benefit from repetition or frequency. Therefore, the research was


37 insufficient and needs to be further explored to gain an accurate understanding of how learners with Down syndrome interpret emotion. My persp ective as a parent of a child with Down syndrome, a teacher of children with Down syndrome and an advocate for individuals with Down syndrome lead me to different conclusions about the emotional perceptual abilities of learners with Down syndrome. When con sidering emotional recognition in people with Down syndrome, I also recalled personal experiences and conversations with other parents, researchers, and advocates that shared my perception. In my experience, learners with Down syndrome possess a heightene d ability to sense, perceive and understand the emotional state of others with whom they share a close personal relationship, based on visual cues such as body language. During my research I identified this trait as acute emotional perception (A.E.P.). T his seemingly innate understanding is not present when measured in a clinical setting. However, parents of children with Down syndrome convey that this is a direct result of the trust and connections formed due to their personal relationship and an increa sed level of shared trust. Evidence of A.E.P. in people with Down syndrome is also revealed through a series of informal conversations I have had with parents, researchers, and advocates that have worked alongside individuals with Down syndrome at an int imate level. My first documented conversation was with Linda Thompson. Linda is a special needs teacher in Alaska that also has a world renowned artist and son that has Down syndrome and autism. When I presented the idea of A.E.P. she agreed whole hearted ly and told me stories of how her son and his understanding of her emotional state. In one story, Thompson states that she collapsed, exhausted, in an Alaskan snow bank during a walk one evening with her son Erik, who then spoke his first words to her, "Mo m it's going to be okay." This unprecedented speech gave her the strength to


38 persevere and finish the trek home. She continued to share a second story about one of her students. While walking one day, she was overcome with post surgical pain, the studen t with Down syndrome accompanying her comforted her by holding her hand and demonstrated how she should walk and take breaks in order to work through the pain. In both of Linda's personal stories, children with Down syndrome recognized her emotional state and reacted in a very comforting and supportive manner. Additionally, I contacted two very well known experts in the field of special needs and teaching students with disabilities in art education. My first conversation was with Alice Wexler. Wexler sha red a study with me entitled, The Siege of the Cultural City is Underway: Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities Make "Art" (2001). In her study, she worked with three students that had Down syndrome in an extracurricular art class. Each student was paired with several teacher candidates. The students initially were hesitant to make art and interact with the teacher candidates. However, towards the end of the class the teacher candidates had gained the students' trust and they started to produce art t hat reflected their interests. My second conversation was with Sue Buckley, Chief Scientist of Down Syndrome Education International. Buckley's initial response supported my theory that individuals with Down syndrome understand emotional cues. She went on to provide me with references to use in support of my research. Specifically, Buckley recommended, Early Learning and Adaptive Behavior in Toddlers with Down syndrome: Evidence for an Emerging Behavioral Phenotype," by Deborah Fidler, Susan Hepburn, a nd Sally Rogers (2008). In this article, the authors explore the strengths of individuals Down syndrome in visual spatial processing and sociability, and relative weaknesses in verbal skills and motor planning. They state that individuals with Down syndrom e have a tendency to demonstrate specific behavioral phenotypes, such as heightened


39 social skills, but a lack of verbal communication to express their ideas. Fidler, Hepburn and Rogers focused on toddlers with Down syndrome, but state that the results are in line with other studies of older children and adults with Down syndrome. Accordingly, individuals with Down syndrome can understand and react in social situations, but typically not verbally. Individuals with Down syndrome might react with a gesture, a grimace, or an action before they respond verbally. I found validation through the conversations with Wexler, Thompson, other parents, and the articles by Wexler, Fidler, Hepburn and Rogers. My own experiences with my daughter, my students and a relative, who all have Down syndrome, continued to validate my theory. Their constant comforting nature was more evident as a specific characteristic associated with Down syndrome through ideas on emotional recognition that surfaced in my research. Passion for Dow n syndrome I incorporated an auto ethnographic approach in my research. This was my connection to the research that began when my second daughter was born and we discovered that she had Down syndrome. Our family learned first hand why individuals with D own syndrome deserve to be more than just "special education" labels. I was home napping when my wife came in and told me she had tested positive for Down syndrome during her prenatal screening (Appendix B). I assured her it would be okay. My previous e xperience teaching art to special needs students introduced me to the different forms of special needs and I knew that Down syndrome was nothing to fear. Once the screening was complete, if the results indicated an increased risk for a Down syndrome diagn osis, the mother was advised to have a Level 2 ultrasound to look for soft markers. These physical markers include a shorter femur length, additional skin behind the neck, heart defects, intestinal issues and brain cysts. If the results are still unclear, the mother can


40 undergo an amniocentesis to verify the extra chromosome. An amniocentesis is a test that is usually done between 15 20 weeks of pregnancy. It involves using a thin needle inserted through your abdomen, to obtain some of the amniotic fluid su rrounding the fetus. This amniotic fluid contains some of the fetus's skin cells. These skin cells can be used to obtain a fetal karyotype a picture of the fetus's chromosomes. If the fetus is discovered to have a third 21st chromosome, then that child r eceives a diagnosis of Down syndrome (Fergus, 2009). However, an amniocentesis is potentially dangerous for both the mother and the unborn child. Therefore, we decided not to undergo the risky procedure and instead prepared ourselves for the potential of having a child with Down syndrome. We did research on what to expect and how to cope with the diagnosis. When Callie was born I knew immediately that she had that extra chromosome; I could see it in her eyes. To verify our suspicion, we had her tested. The test came back positive, as we suspected, and we could move on now that we finally had confirmation. I accepted the diagnosis a little better than my wife. But I still had my doubts about Callie's future, most of which were selfish. However, instead of focusing on the negative side, we educated ourselves, educated our families, and became active participants within the Down syndrome community. Our self education revealed some heartbreaking facts, such as, 92% of women that test positive prenatally f or Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. Historically, children that were born with Down syndrome were usually institutionalized as a result of low expectations, and therefore, they lived a relatively short life without every reaching their potential as contributing members of society. We also discovered that a majority of parents that received a positive test result were then recommended by their physician to terminate their pregnancy. It was presented as thought that is simply what is expec ted with a Down syndrome diagnosis. The physicians did not educate the expectant parents on their options, nor did they


41 themselves understand the full and wonderful potential of people with Down syndrome. This medical misinformation and cultural need for perfection have killed un born children in horrific quantities. Incorporating Awareness As an art teacher, I wanted to explore how I could incorporate Down syndrome into my classroom to bring awareness to the beauty and merit that these individuals bring to our world. First, I let everyone know that I had a daughter with Down syndrome and wanted to share my knowledge and experiences with them. I did not want to hide her or her diagnosis. Three months after Callie was born, we participated in the ann ual Buddy Walk. This is global event where supporters of Down syndrome walk together to raise awareness and funding for the Down syndrome community. One of the event traditions is for participants to form teams, name their team, and design event t shirts donning their team name, which usually represents the member of their group with Down syndrome. In our case, we were "The Squishy Squad" because our daughter was so squishy and fun to squeeze. My wife designed a shirt with cute little round figures, "squis hies," in a variety different colors and poses. The shirt appealed to both students and faculty members, who purchased and wore the shirts in support of our efforts for increasing Down syndrome awareness. This was a successful attempt at integrating Down s yndrome awareness in the classroom specifically using art. The shirt design became an annual tradition, and in the last few years we started making them in the school, the graphics teacher helped by supplying the printing materials, I designed them, the ki ds produced them, and we sold them to the staff and students to raise money and awareness for Down syndrome. This process was so successful in building awareness and morale among my students and peers that I wanted to incorporate more awareness opportunit ies into the classroom. I was not


42 sure how to do this until I saw a movie about the life of an artist with Down syndrome, "Outsider: The Life and Times of Judith Scott" (Bayha, 2006) It featured interviews with her family and educators. This presented an o pportunity to bring Down syndrome awareness into the classroom by introducing the students to the works of a professional artist with Down syndrome. Unfortunately, the movie and any books on Judith Scott are extremely difficult to find for use in the class room. Nevertheless, I created a slideshow reviewing her work and her life and encouraged students to incorporate her methods, assembling objects that she found such as yarn, fibers, fabric, and other assorted materials, into an abstract sculpture of their own. This project was fun and the students enjoyed it, but they did not understand her significance in the art world or life in general. The awareness effort was over shadowed by the act of assemblage. In another attempt to incorporate Down syndrome awa reness into the classroom, I had my National Art Honor Society students create a series of paintings intended to educate the local community on Down syndrome. We wrote a grant to do the project and received the materials along with a show in the local art museum to display our work. Regrettably, there was an over emphasis on the physical characteristics of Down syndrome like the slanted eyes, the simian crease, and the extra twenty first chromosomes. So far, I've had limited success with engaging my stude nts, faculty, and our local community in Down syndrome awareness. However, I will continue to develop not only lessons that highlight the beauty that people with Down syndrome can offer art education, but also adaptive lessons to help students with Down s yndrome contribute meaningful, expressive art without limitations.


43 Curriculum Adaptations Curriculum written specifically for learners with Down syndrome within art education does not exist. As stated earlier, special needs curriculum is an all encompassi ng term applied in a general fashion to all art curriculums with adaptations that aid in the success of any level of disability. However, my findings both in academia and in the Down syndrome society revealed the emotional connection individuals with Down syndrome have towards others. As opposed to writing new curriculum for exploring emotion with learners with Down syndrome in art education, I referred to online resources. I wanted to discover how I could use this information to modify an art curriculum to first, cater to the needs of students with Down syndrome, and second, utilize the student's ability to perceive emotions to create a voice through art. The plan was to find examples of curriculum and modify them to utilize these two principles of my st udy. Early in my research, I identified the characteristics associated with the learning needs of individuals with Down syndrome. The curriculum must include the following adaptations in order for the students to be successful, and for the art educators to tap into their natural abilities of sensing emotion and social awareness. I have included an overview of the relevance of both gross motor and fine motor skills. Gross Motor Skills Gross motor skills refer to the individual's ability to sit or stand fo r an extended period of time. We can call this core function or core strength. The main concern with Gross motor skills is the understanding of Hypotonia. Hypotonia is low muscle tone, associated with Down syndrome. It affects each child differently and ca n affect different parts of the body differently (Winders, 1997).


44 Fine Motor Skills Fine motor skills refer to the individual's ability to make fine and precise movements with the hands. These can include things like writing, cutting, and tearing, but mor e importantly include developing the individual's ability to use both hands in conjunction with each other. Developing these skills will lead to dexterity; dexterity will lead to independent living skills and the counter affects of physical characteristic s that limit the mobility typical in individuals with Down syndrome (Bruni, 2006). These skills will lead to and develop the individuals living skills allowing them to live independently and interact with society in a meaningful way. My research now move s into the application of these ideas into an art curriculum and adaptations that will allow the students to successfully make art. These lessons will give them a tool to express themselves and create their own voice, or ability to share their story with the rest of the world through their art. Adapted Lesson Plans The following lessons were chosen based on the above considerations and were adapted from original lesson plans found on the website www.princeton This website was chosen because of the multitude of lessons and variety available in one place. Below are the lessons, including a description and explanation for each of the adaptations. A printable handout of each lesson will accompany the p aper written in proper lesson plan format that presents the material through adaptive strategies in lieu of just simplifying the lesson or "dumbing it down." Expectations of student involvement and understanding will continue to be high, only the approach will be simplified. You will see that in each lesson, along with the outline of how the lesson is adapted how the student interprets certain characteristics of the lesson in also included (abstract ideas/connections).


45 Each lesson was also chosen to provi de examples of how to build upon the idea of AEP and how to tap into the emotional understandings and strengths of the child. The following lessons provide creative experiences allowing the student to express their emotions and their identities through the physical manipulation of art based materials. Interaction, movement and visual reactions are methods provided by the experts to successfully teach the learner with Down syndrome. Five Lessons; Five Adaptations; Five Fun, Artistic Activities 1. Light painting (Retrieved from ) 2. Abstract ceramic sculpture or coil scraffito (Retrieved from and /high/Justin coil.htm ) 3. Starry night interpretation Painting (Retrieved from ) 4. Collage self portrait inside a silh ouette (Retrieved from ) 5. Pop art prints (Retrieved from ) Light Painting Light Painting is a relatively new idea even though it has existed throughout the histor y of photography. In simplified terms, the camera catches light that is moving by holding the shutter open for an extended period of time. This records an abstract looking light trail. In this lesson we are getting the student moving around, working on tho se gross motor skills. By


46 moving the lights around in a random fashion or even in a specific motion (an example would be in the shape of a letter) having the students create a light trail or light painting. Other students or the teacher could take the pict ure to record the motion and create the artwork. Students should be encouraged to get physical and act out their emotions with the lights. Teachers could encourage them to dance or move in a happy, festive, or anxious manner while holding lights, which wil l be recorded by the camera making a light painting. We can use the method of light painting to encourage the students into a self expression type manner. In this lesson I address the following characteristics. 1. Physical motion (gross motor). 2. Manipulating t he camera (fine motor). 3. Collaboration with others (social skills). 4. Expression (moving lights around). 5. Higher thinking skills (planning movements). Abstract Ceramic Sculpture/ Scraffito Ceramics and Scraffito are both great exercises that focus on tactile qualities while building both gross and fine motor skills. Ceramics requires the students to physically manipulate clay into an object. In this instance we are not asking the students to make a specific item like a teapot, rather we want them to explore th e medium and practice the technique, both of which will aid in developing the gross and fine motor skills. When we introduce the idea of Scraffito into the project, we are further increasing the student's exposure to tactile experiences and giving them an opportunity to choose what tools they want to use and how to manipulate these tools to create texture. Teachers could encourage the students to make marks in the clay that represented a feeling or an emotion. Make angry marks, make happy marks, what woul d


47 sad marks in the clay look like?" these are possible questions for the instructor to use in encouraging the student to make marks that represent themselves, represent how they feel, give them an opportunity to project themselves onto a malleable surface such as clay. The beautiful aspect of Scraffito is that the student does not have to make a certain line or drawing to represent, the goal is to make texture and we can relate the texture to emotions and self through guiding questions. These practices will encourage higher order, and choice based decision making. In this lesson I address the following characteristics. 1. Physical motion, manipulation of the clay (gross motor). 2. Manipulating the clay tools for Scraffito (fine motor). 3. Expression / Emotion (choice based decision making). 4. Higher thinking skills (choice based decision making). Starry Night Interpretation Starry Night is one of the most beloved and recognized paintings within modern art. Van Gogh created this masterpiece focusing on the shimmering af fect of the stars on a clear night. In this lesson the students are given time to explore and study the painting, followed by creating of their own interpretation of a starry night. In this lesson we can bring in the emotional understandings and have them focus on a calm cool night, or a hot summer night, or any other feeling descriptors we can relate to a clear night sky. Students then have the opportunity to choose how they want to interpret or create their own starry night. Focusing on a common theme al lows the students to experiment and work on both fine and gross motor skills. Gross motor skills can be practiced by simply sitting at the table in order to complete the work as well as major arm movements to make the signature Van Gogh brush marks. Fine m otor skills can be practiced by manipulating the writing and painting utensils the students choose to use. In each


48 scenario the students are given choices and asked to apply their knowledge of emotions, art, and Van Gogh to make an original painting. Stud ents are encouraged to tap into their emotions for mark making and imitating the style of Van Gogh. In this lesson I address the following characteristics. 1. Physical motion, sitting at table, major part movement (gross motor). 2. Mark making, manipulating (fin e motor). 3. Collaboration with others (social skills). 4. Expression / Emotion (moving lights around). 5. Higher thinking skills (planning movements). Collage/Self Portrait In this lesson I address the student's identity, allowing them an opportunity to express what they consider important in their lives. They can explore what makes them, them. In this exercise the students can draw and outline themselves, trace their silhouette, or use a printout of them to create a basic drawing or frame in which they will find and paste or draw images that represent their idea of self. In the event that cutting and drawing are too complicated, the images can be torn and pasted into the silhouette. This lesson is more of a fine motor skill but introduces abstract ideas like "sel f" into the curriculum. Students are encouraged to find and use images that entice their emotions "what they like, what they want, what they have" ideas and visual references that allow them to physically represent their own version of self. Providing appr opriate materials would be crucial here, instead of sports magazines more specific image sources should be used (internet, teen magazine, comic books, etc.) not the leftover magazines from the doctor's office. In this lesson I address the following charact eristics: 1. Physical motion, sitting at table, major part movement (gross motor).


49 2. Mark Making, manipulation/tearing and gluing (fine motor). 3. Expression / Emotion (abstract connections between self and objects). 4. Higher order thinking skills (representations o f self). 5. Choice in how to make frame. Drawing. Pop Art Prints In this lesson we discuss the work of Andy Warhol and how he would copy a portrait multiple times changing the color each time to represent certain characteristics of the person. Students will use a printout of their own portrait and trace it with white school glue creating a frame or border around their facial features. Students will then choose colors for each portrait (minimum of four portraits) and paint inside the glue borderlines. Each po rtrait could represent a different feeling or emotion and become an expression of how they feel during different moments of their lives. Teachers could introduce the ideas of color emotion relationships and have the students express what they feel through the manipulation of color in the prints. (Students that feel sad could use blue tones, angry red tones, sick green tones, happy yellow tones). In this lesson we address the fine motor skills by tracing the glue and deeper more personal meaning assoc iated with colors and emotions. In this lesson I have addressed the following characteristics: 1. Physical motion, sitting at table, major part movement (gross motor). 2. Glue tracing/ painting in the lines (fine motor). 3. Discussion of emotion/color relationships with teachers (social skills). 4. Expression / Emotion (color association). 5. Higher thinking skills (assigning colors to emotions).


50 My list of lessons demonstrates the types of lesson or art activities we can use to encourage the learner with Down syndrome i n developing their voice. Each activity opens an avenue for self expression and association of emotions with visual, tangible objects and materials. My hopes are that these lessons will be an encouraging starting point for teachers of students with Down sy ndrome. Additional Resources for Adaptations The ultimate goal of this study was to create a resource for art educators to adapt their curriculum for students with Down syndrome. Initially the work was intended to be available through a website. The websi te format was deemed by my advisory committee at the University of Florida to be somewhat outdated and static. Social media platforms that would not only share the information online but also allow art educators to interact became the choice for disseminat ion of the findings. In keeping with tradition the work is still available on that first website at: The study was also put into a blog format that allows other art educators to share their ideas on Down syndrome and art education (in comments allowed on my blog site), and that features allows the viewer to customize the way they view and interact with the blog. The blog Down Syndrome and Art is available at: A third venue for the dissemination of the work was through a self publishing website "ISSUU" allowing for the infor mation to be put into a magazine format rich with images and free to download or print by anyone interested. The ISSUU publication is available at: cs/ds_issuu_magazine_final6282012 Finally my research i s in part now found on Pinterest. My Pinterest board consists of over 100 linked and annotated sources that I have found to be useful, credible sources of information


51 for anyone interested in teaching art to learners with Down syndrome. I have also shared my research in Art Education 2.0, an online community of about 11,000 art educators world wide, and on the University of Florida student moderated Facebook page and closed social network, UFARTED. I h ave also tweeted my research findings and sites to twitter, using the hashtags including but not limited to #downsyndrom, #specialed, and #artsed. Taken together, my blog, website, and Pinterest board provide a social media rich opportunity for a myriad of viewers to experience it. My dissemination in Facebook, Twitter, and Art Education 2.0 further extend my reach.


52 Chapter 5: Insights and Recommendations What Down syndrome has to Offer Art education has been a very enlightening journey. My interest in special needs, and specifically Down syndrome, has a very personal overtone due to my life experiences. This study has provided evidence that research in the field of Down syndrome has a long way to go, but deserves the same emphasis allocated to other exc eptionalities. I would love to see designing curriculum and adaptations for specific abilities explored by other researchers with a focus on the lesser known groups and other disciplines like music and theater. Programs that focus on curriculum and adapta tions exist, but all suffer from the same over generalization of special needs. In the future, I predict the increased awareness for these specific groups will grow based on the acceptance of their individual worth. This study has forced me to realize the current truths associated with Down syndrome by providing plausible explanations for why research is so limited and what the possibility is of future explorations in Down syndrome and art education research. There are two primary reasons for the lack of Down syndrome research. First, Down syndrome specific research was conducted years ago, in the mid twentieth century, on how best to serve their community, but there has been no outcry for additional studies until recently. Second, prenatal tests for Do wn syndrome have made it possible for terminations to reach Holocaust levels, limiting the actual number of individuals with Down syndrome, which makes the need for research lessoned due to the reduced number of individuals benefiting from the results. A large amount of the research I discovered on Down syndrome could be considered outdated. It was performed in the 1960's and 1970's. Research methods and results from fifty years ago are often viewed as irrelevant to current trends and interests. It may be the language


53 used, or the methods, or just the settings of the research that invalidates it. In any event, the research was done too long ago and causes a dual problem. It is seen as irrelevant to current researchers and advocates while simultaneously see n as complete to older researchers. Several Internet forums had posts about Down syndrome advocacy with responses from the stance that it (research) has already been done and is old news thus the lack of interest in performing new studies on Down syndrome. This as problematic because these older researchers are not taking into account new methods of research, new methods of disseminating the research, or the fact that new advocates want current studies performed with up to date methods, vernacular and setti ngs. On a more personal side of the research, we see a drop in the overall population of individuals with Down syndrome through the advancement of pre natal screenings. Parents are given the option earlier in a pregnancy to terminate based on a positive Down syndrome diagnosis. This presents several factors that affect the overall research on Down syndrome. First, the numbers of individuals are not available for study. Second, disabilities without a pre natal screening, such as Autism, become higher in fr equency and command more attention by researchers and educators. In one of my discussions with Alice Wexler, I asked her if she thought the frequency of Down syndrome births compared to Autism births was a relevant scenario for the lack of Down syndrome re search and the abundance of Autism research. She agreed and stated, "Autism has become an epidemic." This attitude from a special needs art researcher demonstrates the current course of available research. Research becomes need based and follows those tren ds that race to the forefront of our lives. Personally, I believe that everyone deserves a chance. If a pre natal screening test existed for ADHD and autism, we would sadly see a radical decline in people with this diagnosis and


54 another group or topic w ould come to the forefront of research. The real challenge, and maybe not appropriately debated in an art education venue, is how to increase awareness and education to parents whose child receives a pre natal diagnosis. A disability or diagnosis should n ot be what leads to the intentional termination of a pregnancy. The life of a child should not be at the mercy of another; all children deserve to have an experience in art, in music, in love, in life. During my research for information about Down syndrom e in art education, I uncovered several characteristics that were relevant and merited further study. The sensitive nature experienced by other researchers, parents and advocates, my own included, led me to dig deeper into the idea of acute emotional perce ption (A.E.P.). I was shocked to see differences in opinions by the same advocacy groups, and yet different results by researchers on the perceived ability of individuals with Down syndrome to respond appropriately to emotional cues. One of the most import ant factors that led to this discrepancy was the environment; the studies were conducted in sterile clinical settings. Clinical researchers tended to present their studies in a controlled environment with strangers performing the test. Other studies provid ed us with the validation that students with Down syndrome excelled at social skills in familiar settings with familiar people, thus the study methods went against the accepted methods for engaging learners with Down syndrome. In my research, one of the s kills referenced as constantly needing attention is that of fine motor control. Fine motor control, the small incremental movements of the hand we rely upon to demonstrate our ability to communicate, is documented as limited in individuals with Down syndr ome. In one of my conversations with the DADS group a mention of the idea that cell structure is different in the skin of individuals with Down syndrome (Robinson, 2012). This could lead to further understanding development of tactile approaches and fine m otor skills.


55 Research on the physical development of individuals with Down syndrome could lead to a deeper understanding of how to aid in developing their fine motor skills. For example, if the theory of thickened skin on the fingertips was validated, we could simply add texture, such as a grip type surface, to art making utensils. This is a significant difference from the form fitting gel grips and large, easy to hold grips currently used to aid in fine motor control. Instead, perhaps teachers could us e something like small rubber dots or a very fine grade, gritty paper wrap that would amplify the feel of a utensil to an individual with limited dexterity. A study on the ability to manipulate utensils based on their surface texture would be a logical co ntinuance of the study, "What Down Syndrome Has to Offer Art Education." In the literature review I performed for this study several articles were written to discuss the importance of the social bonds witnessed between the mother and child with Down syndr ome. These were seen as a benefit that enriched the lives of those involved. In one of the articles the family benefits were studied over a long period of time but still focused on the mother child relationship. Through my own experience I see the family unit and the significance of the father as avenues for further study. I am a member of a national group (DADS) centered on the father figure in the lives of the Down syndrome individual. In my household we approach the idea of Down syndrome through family and include, educate and share our experiences with everyone. Each member of the family from aunts and uncles to grandparents and siblings share in building the universal bond of support we call family. This concept of family for the support of Down syndro me is underplayed and usually overshadowed by the characteristics and development of the diagnosis, legal matters, social matters and if family is referenced it focuses on the bond between mother and child. I would like to see a further exploration of the influence family and extended family units have on development of children with Down syndrome.


56 In this study, we have discussed learning and curriculum strategies, as well as physical modifications that could be used in developing fine motor skills, and an ability to express one self through the arts. I would like to also locate and develop more specific schools and organizations for artists with Down syndrome. I foresee the development of schools, like the Mexican School of Downs, which offer a college l evel or post high school art education to individuals with Down syndrome ( ). This would serve two purposes; first, would be an advanced education in the field of visual art, and second, would be to develop a venue to cultivate aes thetic acceptance and validity of art made by artists with Down syndrome. Research indicated that after high school participatory programs most individuals with Down syndrome have limited options for studying any art form (Escamilla, 2005). Some individua ls are enrolled in day centers that offer arts and crafts, but this is not what I am proposing. I am proposing a school or a group of schools that offer a comprehensive arts education. This education would contain production methods, skills and material de velopment, as well as instruction on developing a body of work. These schools would avoid the cutesy' craft projects generally assigned to adult special needs citizens, and introduce the concept of a fine arts school to those students interested in an art career. Currently there are schools that offer these services but they are few, one in Mexico and one in the United States (Escamilla, 2005). With the increasing realization of the worth individuals with special needs have, I am sure we can find a means to create these schools. The second benefit in developing these schools, and maybe even a separate course of study, would be the development of societal awareness, and the aesthetic validity of the art produced by individuals with Down syndrome. What we find in most instances is a patronizing


57 acceptance of art made by artist with Down syndrome by claiming it to be cute or good for a person with Down syndrome. Art made by these artists are aesthetically pleasing in their own right and possess a deeper und erstanding and development than is usually attributed to it. The process and meaning associated with the art of artist with Down syndrome, can rival that of those we call masters. Simply compare the methodical patterning of artist Erik Behnke ( http://brown ), who happens to have Down syndrome, with that Norvell Morriseau an Inuit painter with that relies on complex geometric patterns within his spiritual drawings ( ). Both artists represent nature in their art and rely on bright colors, bold outlines, and patterns, yet are seen as radically different because of the labels associated with their lives. If we develop the appropriate venues for artists to work and display their work, we can eliminate this trivial vi ew of their artwork and elevate them to a master level of self expression. Programs are in place that support and celebrate the artists with special needs such as VSA (Very Special Arts). VSA and programs like it are instrumental in providing access to t he arts for individuals with Down syndrome and other diagnoses. My research did lead me to organizations such as VSA and Alexander's angels, which celebrate the art and creativity of individuals with disabilities. I would like to see a marriage between the se organizations and educational venues to direct and influence learning objectives for the special learner within a public school curriculum. Meaning, supportive organizations like Alexander's Angels and VSA could add to curriculum, suggest modifications based on experience and encourage the arts within education. Supportive programs for Down syndrome and other special needs organizations do exist however they are dispersed geographically and could influence special


58 needs educations, arts education and sur ely other avenues of education if they were to combine and apply their efforts. Through this research I intended to highlight the artistic abilities of students with Down syndrome. It also opened a world of possible avenues for future research such as spe cial tools with a texture overhaul, schools with an arts education focus, acceptance art made by people with Down syndrome, and finally, current, up to date research that leads to the development of the arts within the Down syndrome community. I hope to co ntinue my Down syndrome research, and encourage other researchers and advocates to use my work as a starting point to expand on our collective knowledge of Down syndrome and its influence on art education.


59 References Armstrong, M. (2012). Homer artist to show work in New York City. Penisula Clarion. Retrieved from Arnold, A. (1996). Fostering autonomy through the arts. Art Education, 49 (4) 20 24, 33 34. Bain, C., & Hasio, C. (2011). Authentic Learning Experience Prepares Preservice Students to Teach Art to Children with Special Needs. Art Education 64 (2), 33 9. Baker, H. H. (2007). A lifetime of beating the odds. Except Parent Magazine, 37 (3), 36 37. Baya, B. (2006). Judith Scott Documentary. [press release] Retrieved from pr slamdance.htm Becker, A. J. (2010). Encountering Down syndrome: An hour with Penny. Christian Century, 127 (1), 10. Becker, A. J. (2011). What God taught me through my daughter's disability: My Perfect Child. Christianity Today, 55 (12), 38 41. Bird, G., Alton, S., & Mackinnon, C. (2000). Accessing the curriculum strategies for differentiation for pupils with Down syndrome Down Syndrome Education International Retrieved from http://www.down B runi, M. (2006). Fine motor skills for children with Down syndrome. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Buckley, S. (2000). Living with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome Education International doi:10.3104/9781903806012


60 Buckley, S. (2005). Creative Arts, imagination and expression An important way of being, sharing, and feeling? Down Syndrome News and update. 4 (3), 77 Retrieved from www. Down 334.pdf Copeland, B. (1984). Mainstreaming art for the handicapped child, resources for teacher preparation. Art Education, 37 (6), 22 29. Cunningham, C. (1996). Families of children with Down syndrome. Down syndrome research and practice, 4 (3), 87 95. doi:10.3104/perspectives.66 Czurles, S. (1960). Structuring an art teacher preparation curriculum. Art Education, 13 (3), 6 10, 24. DeCoster, M. (2008). Inclusive strategies for teachers. Retrieved from inclusion/Inclusionstartegies.htm Derby, J. (2012). Art education and Disability Studies. Disability Studies Quarterly, 32 (1). Retrieved from http://dsq Esbensen, A.J., & Seltzer, M. M. (2011). Accounting for the Down syndrome advantage. American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 116 (1), 3 15. DOI: 10.1352/1944 7558 116.1.3 Escamilla, S. (2005). Fostering the creativity of people with Down syndrome. Down syndrome news and update, 4 (3), 78 80. Ferrara, Dianne. (1984). What Is Down Syndrome? ERIC clearing house on handicapped and gi fted children, 1984. Retrieved Nov. 5, 2011 from ERIC Web. Fidler, D., Most, D., & Philofsky, A. (July 02, 2008). The Down Syndrome behavioural phenotype: Taking a developmental approach. Down Syndrome Education International Retrieved from http://www.down


61 Freyberger, R. (1985). Friend or foe of art education. Art Education, 38 (6), 6 9. Gair, S. (1980). Writing the arts into individualized educational programs. Art Education, 33 (8) 8 11. Germain, C. (2008). Art for special needs students: building a philosophical framework. Forum April 54 55, 71. Guay, D. (1995). The sunny side of the street, a supportive community for the inclusive art classroom. Art Educatio n, 48 (3), 51 56. Kasari, C., Freeman, S. F., & Hughes, M. A. (2001). Emotion recognition by children with Down Syndrome. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 106 (1), 59 72. Kay, S. (2008). Raising the ceiling in the art room for the artistically gifted : An interview with Barry Shauck. Gifted Child Today (Waco, Tex.: 2000) 31 (4), 59 63. Lederman, J. (2010). We call it up syndrome. Choices, 25 (5), 4 6. MacLean, J. (2008). The art of inclusion. Canadian Review of Art Education: Research and Issues 35 75 98. Mason, C., & Steedly, K. (2006). Rubrics and an arts integration community of practice. Teaching Exceptional Children 39 (1), 36 43. Mason, C., Steedly, K. & Thormann, M. (2008). Impact on arts integration on voice, choice, and access. Teacher Educ ation and Special Education, 31 (1), 36 46. doi:10.1177/088840640803100104 May, D. (1976). Integration of art education into special education programs. Art Education, 29 (4), 16 20.


62 Miller, N. (2005). The genre of inclusion: Painting the world as it is. The Exceptional Parent 35 (4), 33. National Down Syndrome Society. (2012). Alzheimer's and Down syndrome. Retrieved from ed Conditions/Alzheimers and Down Syndrome/ Nisenson, K. (2008). Arts for healing: The importance of integrated music and art in therapy and Special Education. The Exceptional Parent 38 (3), 42 4. Orfei, M. (2007). What is an I.E.P. Retrieved from Raessler, D. M. (2003). How do you love a child like that? Except Parent magazine, 33 (12), 32 35. Robinson, C. (2012). Down Syndrome and Art [ http://downsyndromea ]. Robinson, C. (2012). Pinterest Board Down syndrome [ syndrome/ ]. Robinson, C. (2012). Twitter name Clint Robinson [ ]. Robinson, C. (2012). Facebook name Robinso n Clint [ ]. Robinson, C. (2012). Robinson independent research [ ]. Robinson, C. (2012). What Down Syndrome Has To Offer Art Education.


63 [ obinsonc/docs/ds_issuu_magazine_final6282012 ]. Robinson, C. (2011). Pilot Case study of available resources on art education and Down syndrome. (Unpublished pilot study). University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl. Schwartz, D., & Pace, D. (2008). Create art, expanding an afterschool art program. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40 (4), 50 54. Scullion, T. (n.d.). Collaboration and teaching strategies for the Inclusion Classroom. Retrieved from 2.htm # Smith, B.L. (2001). Judith Scott: Finding a Voice. Fiberarts, 28 (1), 36 39. State of Georgia department of educatio n. (2010) The Georgia Alternative Assessment (GAA) [data file]. Retrieved from Thompkins, R., Deloney, P., (1995). Inclu sion: The Pros and Cons Issuesabout change. Retrieved from USA Today (2011). Now That Is Down Right Impressive. 140 (2796), 28 33. Virji Babul, N., Kerns, K. Zhou, E., Kapur, A., & Shiffrar, M. (2006). Perceptual motor deficits in children with Down syndrome: Implications for intervention. Down Syndrome Research and Practice 10 (2), 74 82. Retrieved from http://www.down Vize, A. (2005). Making art activities work for students with special needs. Arts & Activities 138 (4), 17, 41. Watson, M. (2010). MAXXI. Art Monthly 39. Retrieved from Art Full Text database


64 Webster, J. (2008, Nov. 6) Practical Strategies for the classroom. Retrieved from http://specialed Wexler, A. (2005). GRACE Not es: A Grass Roots Art and Community Effort. Studies in Art Education 46 (3), 255 69. Retrieved from Education Full Text database Wexler, A. (2011). "The siege of the cultural city is underway": Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities Make "Art". Studie s in Art Education, 53 (1), 53 70 Wheeler, A. (2009). Learning to control those emotions. Down Syndrome Centre. Retrieved from http://downsyndromecentre .ie/advisorypanel/2009/mar/02/learning control those emotions/. Winders, P. (1997). Gross motor skills in children with down syndrome: A guide for parents and professionals. Bethesda MD: Woodbine House. (2005). Judith Scott: 1943 2005. Artweek 36 (5), 3. (2010). Monster Animation Creates a Positive Role Model. Animation Magazine 24 (7), 41.


65 Biography Clint Justin Robinson is a secondary art teacher in Troup county Georgia certified in K 12 Art Ed, Gifted, and Advanced Placement. He is a graduate of South eastern Louisiana University where he earned a BA in Art Education and is a current graduate student in the University of Florida's online Master of Art Education program. Clint has been nominated and received the 2010 2011 teacher of the year honor. Clint is a proud husband and father of two. Some of his specialties include painting, pin striping, and the advocacy for Down syndrome. In 2010 he was ordained Reverend Clint Robinson adding to his already colorful background. Clint's varied and storie d work history from butcher, to sign painter, to finger print analyst, and custom automotive painter has led to a colorful and rewarding life as Husband, Father, and Teacher. Clint can be reached at Robinsonc@ufl.e du or through his website at


66 Appendix A: Bird's Checklist Supporting children's fine motor skill development Through Wrist and finger strengthening activities. Hand eye coordination practice. Using a wide range of multi sensory activities and materials, large and small. Practice skills in real and meaningful situations to increase motivation. Provide additional guidance and encouragement when learning motor sk ills. Encourage independence in small self help skills, e.g. buttons, coats. Use alternatives to enable independence, e.g. for top shirt buttons and shoelaces. Practice all motor skills improve with practice. Encouraging participation in physical education Explaining team games. Turn taking. Working in pairs. Changing ends at half time. Using small group or partner activities with objectives. Using additional visual cues such as gesture, markings on hands, feet, or floor to indicate correct po sitions. Targeting speed of changing work with parents, allow child in from P.E. early, or ask a peer to encourage the child to keep on task when changing. Be aware of some children's sensitivity to indoor noise levels and echoes and young children's p hysical confidence or fear of being knocked over. Plan school teams for pupils of different abilities organize sports leagues with other


67 schools in your LEA for pupils with differing abilities. Improving children's listening environments. Place childr en near the front of the class. Speak directly to the pupil. Reinforce speech with facial expression, sign or gesture. Reinforce speech with visual backup print, pictures, concrete materials. Write new vocabulary on the board. When other pupils ask o r answer questions, repeat questions and answers aloud. Rephrase sentences as well as repeat words and phrases that have been misheard. Follow guidance on the use of hearing aids in the classroom and other listening environments. Supporting visual skill s Placing children near the front of the class. Using larger type. Use simple and uncluttered presentation. Provide additional help with skills involving hand eye coordination. Support children in depth judgments, e.g. stairs. Follow advice from the child's optician or teacher for the visually impaired. Use peers to help children in large spaces. Use lines and signs on floors and walls to help direction, to understand limits of space or moving around in large spaces, such as t he playground or hall. Adapting to children's physical needs Following the advice of the child's occupational therapist, physiotherapist and


68 specialist teacher, particularly for supporting movement around school, safety and confidence, adaptations for inde pendence in self help, adaptations for the classroom and promoting learning. Make any adaptations in the classroom inclusive, e.g. individual computer in the classroom. Not at the back of the classroom. Individual chairs that can move and fit with diffe rent tables, so the child can work in different locations. Help to develop a school that is physically accessible for everyone. Encouraging speech, language and communication Not judging cognitive ability upon competence in spoken language. Listening ca refully to children so that you can understand them. Using face to face and direct eye contact. Speak clearly using clear whole sentences, with repetition of the key words of the sentence and use of signs as necessary for the individual. Be aware of the child's hearing status and follow advice for how to help listening. Check understanding and help memorizing by asking the child to repeat back instructions (if they have the expressive skills in speech or sign to do this). Avoid ambiguous language. Rei nforce speech with facial expression, gesture and sign. Teach reading and use the printed word to support speech and language. Reinforce spoken instruction with print, pictures, diagrams, concrete and materials. Emphasize key words and reinforce key wor ds visually.


69 Teach grammar through the printed word flash cards, games, pictures of prepositions, symbols. Avoid 'closed' questions so the child is encouraged to speak and communicate, not just answer 'yes' or 'no'. When children are keen to communica te, don't be too quick to help them try waiting a little longer between sentences, say 'hmm', 'that's interesting' (pause), etc. and encourage them to keep going. Give sufficient time for the child to process language and respond. Encourage the pupil to speak aloud in class by providing visual prompts, allowing the child to read information may be easier for them than speaking spontaneously. The use of a 'home school' book or 'conversation diary' can facilitate pupils in telling th eir news. Develop language through drama and role play. Encourage the child to lead interactions and ask for their opinions and thoughts. Encouraging understanding and participation by providing visual supports. Provide taped versions, e.g. stories, i nstructions. Provide alternative methods of recording. Ask pupils to write about topics within their experience and understanding. Pace any dictation appropriately and include repetition; check and change vocabulary and grammar as necessary for the chil d's level of engagement and language understanding. Provide picture and sentence sequencing practice (from two picture sequences to story boards, webs, maps, etc).


70 If copying from the board select and highlight words in a different color, or prepare a shorter version for the pupil to copy. Model activities allow children to watch others, if they wish to, before participating. Teach key words or new vocabulary teach these carefully, use them in natural language and provide a list with their meaning s, reinforced with illustration as necessary for the individual. Ways to support recording and responding by providing visual supports Pictures, sentence or word card sequences, storyboards, webs, maps, or frames. Card sorts of various types and 'Cloze' procedures (sentences with gaps indicated by lines and a choice of words to select from). Prompt sheets using pictures and/or words. Answer question links. 'Yes/No' tick sheets. Use of the computer, tape recorder or Dictaphone. Help from a scri be. Discussion, If copying from the board, provide shorter text highlighted within larger text. To enable writing provide the words within pupils' sight vocabulary, including lists of key words. Acting out, role play and drama. Modified work sheets. Photograph objects, materials, result or process of lesson (e.g. group work, talking in group, pupil engaging in activity) and print as a record of the lesson.


71 Write explanatory sentences or print and paste words and sentences into the child's book or fil e. Supporting short term or working memory Helping the child to understand longer sentences and instructions by filtering out the more important bits of information from a block. Lists or help sheets of the most important information or instructions, displayed on the wall and given individually. Teach rehearsal techniques by repeating information, Support rehearsal by cumulative, sequential visual frames, e.g. for telephone numbe rs, addresses, times tables. Teach categories and classification simple tasks graduating to more complex. Give the pupil practice in taking messages graduating from simple to complex. Play memory games: e.g. Kim's Game, Pelmanism, 'Mastering Memory' computer software. Limit the amount of verbal instructions at any one time. Repeat individually to pupil any information/instructions given to class as a whole. Plan for visual translation and/or an alternative activity in lengthy whole class instruction and discussion. Quick drawings and doodles for 'unplanned' visual translation or 'cue drawings'. Encouraging positive engagement in tasks With increasing duration through Shorter work sessions interspersed with choosing activities. Recognizing that c hildren need breaks in their learning in an ordinary classroom


72 environment this may not occur naturally when a pupil receives learning support. Short sessions two short sessions are likely to be more valuable than one long one. Double lessons in second ary it may be more suitable for some pupils to attend the first lesson only and use the second half for individual reinforcement or work on basic skills. Build a range of tasks and activities into the lesson. Break tasks and activities down into short, c lear and concise steps. Focus on one aim at a time. Vary the level of demand from task to task. Vary the type and extent of support. Allow peers to help keep the pupil on task. For younger pupils provide an 'activity box' and use for alternative activitie s or as an incentive to complete tasks. Provide a range of activities in the box, which can either be done independently or with a partner, For some older pupils, continue to use alternative activities and teach the pupil how to collect, complete, show to the teacher and return resources to an independent activity work base. Encouraging learning by providing shorter tasks that are within pupils' capabilities so that they can achieve success Provide extra time and opportunities for additional repetition and reinforcement. Present new skills and concepts in a variety of ways, using concrete, practical and visual materials as much as possible. Check backwards so that previously learned skills have not been forgotten.


73 Use errorless teaching; although it i s important that pupils with Down syndrome, as with all pupils, learn from their mistakes, many are very sensitive to failure. Errorless learning can therefore help in certain situations teaching pupils to complete a new task by guiding them through eac h step correctly, not allowing them to fail. As pupils become more capable, the prompt can be reduced until it is not needed. Give encouragement, praise and positive messages often, although do not interrupt children engaging well in tasks they are inter ested in. Use peers as models and to motivate learning. Choose appropriate context for whole class, small group, partner and one one works. Tips for preparing worksheets (adapted from Lewis, 1995) Use meaningful material, Is it within, or close to, the pup il's own experience? Introduce new concepts in familiar context. Make the tasks self contained. Provide plenty of visual cues, e.g. pictures, diagrams and print. Use illustrations, Ensure illustrations tie in closely with text. Give plenty of opportunitie s for success. Use pupils' feedback to decide whether or not the written task sheets fulfill your educational aims and objectives. Supplement with a taped version of the task sheet pupils can re play for reinforcement. Try out several versions of a writt en task sheet. Differentiate clearly between text and illustrations.


74 Leave a wide border all round the edge of the page. Highlight and explain all key words. Highlight and explain all new words. Illustrate these words if necessary. Use type or print in pre ference to handwriting. Use subheadings to break down and structure the written sheet. Use a simple and uncluttered layout. Break up continuous text. Highlight instructions in some way, e.g. in a box, particular font or color, Use colored as well as white paper, both for variety as well as coding purposes. In considering the language we should use simple and familiar language Keep sentences short and concise. Avoid ambiguous words. Use active rather than passive verbs.


75 Appen dix B: Terminology Maternal Serum Screening The mother's blood is checked for a combination of different markers: alpha fetoprotein (AFP), unconjugated estriol (uE3), and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) make up the standard tests, known together as the "triple test." Sometimes a marker called inhibin A is added, making the "quadruple screen." These tests are independent measurements, and when taken along with the maternal age (discussed below), can calculate the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome. Over the last fifteen years, these were done in the 15th to 18th week of pregnancy. Recently, another marker called PAPP A was found to be of use even earlier. Alpha fetoprotein is made in the part of the womb called the yolk sac and in the fetal liver, a nd some amount of AFP gets into the mother's blood. In neural tube defects, the skin of the fetus is not intact and so larger amounts of AFP are measured in the mother's blood. In Down syndrome, the AFP is decreased in the mother's blood, presumably becaus e the yolk sac and fetus are smaller than usual. Estriol is a hormone produced by the placenta, using ingredients made by the fetal liver and adrenal gland. Estriol is decreased in the Down syndrome pregnancy. This test may not be included in all screens, depending on the laboratory. Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone is produced by the placenta, and is used to test for the presence of pregnancy. A specific smaller part of the hormone, called the beta subunit is increased in Down syndrome pregnancies. Inhibin A is a protein secreted by the ovary, and is designed to inhibit the production of the hormone FSH by the pituitary gland. The level of inhibin A is increased in the blood of


76 mothers of fetuses with Down syndrome. PAPP A which stands for pregnancy associated plasma protein A, is produced by the covering of the newly fertilized egg. In the first trimester, low levels of this protein are seen in Down syndrome pregnancies. A very important consideration in the screening test is the age of the fetus (g estational age). The correct analysis of the different components depends on knowing the gestational age precisely. The best way to determine that is by ultrasound. Once the blood test results are determined, a risk factor is calculated based on the "norma l" blood tests for the testing laboratory. The average of normals is called the "population median ." Test results are sometimes reported to doctors as "Multiples of the Median (MoM)." The "average" value is therefore called 1.0 MoM. Down syndrome pregnancies have lower levels of AFP and estriol, so their levels would be below the average, and therefore less than 1.0 MOM. Likewise, hCG in a Down syndrome pregnancy would be greater than 1.0 MoM. In the serum screening, the lab reports all results in either this way or as a total risk factor calculated by a software program.