Choir Child with Down Syndrome
  • Dear Friends:

    I have a wonderful family in my choir. The mom, dad, and two daughters sing. They have a 7 year old named Joey who has down syndrome. He does have a good level of functionality and can moderately interact with us. He speaks some of the common prayers (Our Father) and will occasionally sing along on the Roman Missal Gloria (for maybe the first few lines or so).

    Most of the time, Joey is occupied in the rear of the choir loft with a book or electronic device.

    I would love to put together some sort of resource to help him participate a little bit more with the choir. I'm not exactly sure where to start, or what to make for him. Perhaps a small booklet of some kind?

    Does anyone have any experience or ideas of what I might be able to create so that Joey could participate with us a little bit more actively?

  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,299
    I once ran a CCD program and a teen with Down Syndrome had been an assistant to my predecessor.

    He was able to do a very successful job at something simple and routine: picking up the attendance reports. I think that's the key: simple, predictable, routine. There are a lot of things like that in a choir program.

    I would start with one thing, and let him go back to the ipad. And then keep adding things that you need to have done and he is able to do, one at a time.

    As far as joining in the music making, that may happen in time, but I would let him choose that.

    There are several national programs on the subject of "inclusion ministry," which involves exactly what you are thinking about if I understand correctly. How can a way be made for persons with special needs make a meaningful contribution to parish life?
  • Based on the above -
    Certain choir 'chores' come to mind -
    Collecting music
    Passing it out
    Filing music
    Helping with librarian tasks
    Arranging chairs and stuff
    Numbering new copies
    Stuffing or helping to stuff choir folders
    Any or all the above could make him feel included and important.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,464
    Why don't you ask his parents if they have any ideas? They will know the kinds of tasks he enjoys and would do well.
  • Jackson,

    I take issue with one word, but more importantly with the idea(s) behind it.

    That word is "feel".

    What if choir music weren't collected by this young man? The task might fall to the choirmaster (who is important).
    What it the music remained unfiled by this young man? Might the music go unfiled? Might the work fall back on the choirmaster (who is important).
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I don't know that I am all that 'important' by a long chalk. on the occasions when I have traveled, and the singers carried on without me waving my hands at them, I've returned to reports of their having done quite well.

    Feelings of being useful, and included, may be valued by the young man; I wonder whether feeling 'important' may be absent from his list altogether. just sayin'.
  • 'Important' was clearly not the right word. What I meant, it should have gone without saying, was a valued member of the choir fulfilling a useful and needed role. And, such tasks are important.
  • Some great suggestions there for an older person who wants to be involved but doesn't have singing skills. Every choir should have a couple of people like this, to make best use of the director's time.

    But this kid is seven. I've yet to meet a 7 yo who would be able to help with more than simple tasks, assigned day by day. Collecting all the yellow sheets - yes. Filing sheets in the right place based on the words written on them, ahh, maybe not yet, even for a 7 with no challenges.