Over 17 experimental 1 hour zoom sessions during lockdown Paul and his family had fun creating a story, sounds, song and film. Paul has Downes Syndrome. It was an experiment to see what we could do on zoom. The film is a only a fraction of what went on in the sessions. Using voice, movement and story we explored the qualities of: flying, floating, launching, spinning, mystical, cheering and much more. The qualities emerged from the story Paul and his family created. The story is about their actual cat Fido, Fido is on a mission to save us all from the terrible virus. Or was it all a dream? Who Knows!
Each week we had warmups and then went where our noses led us. We had a lot of fun and it was an opportunity for the whole family to be in a shared creative experience.
At the end of our project we got Paul’s family together from around the world to watch it with us, if you watch the film you will see them cheering at the end!
Some of the things we explored:
Moving and sounding.
Colouring (Paul sister Lynne already happened to draw out lines for Paul to colour so they decided to use that technique to make pictures for their story)
Recording sound from around the house to make special effects. The rocket is Paul’s washing machine.
Feedback from Paul’s family.
- You gave Paul the time to respond to requests/questions.
- You led by example… Very important for people who are visual learners like Paul. (Most adults with Downs Syndrome seem to be good at mimicking others and moving naturally to music with an intuitive sense of rhythm.)
- You kept your instructions simple and unambiguous.
- Liked the way you followed Paul’s ideas and let it lead the way the session went.
- Your enthusiasm rubbed off on Paul!
- One bit that really stuck out for me was how Paul’s confident rich voice come out after listening to you singing a few lines from The Magnificent Men, followed by copying you. It was lovely to hear and built his confidence up.
- One thing I noticed was because you repeated the exercise each week Paul knew what to expect and was able to understand the request and responded quicker. He thrives on repetition. I’m sure too that he benefiting from it being his choice over which part of the picture to study and the positive attention he gains him from others in doing so. It’s all helping him to gain good attention skills too as he’s quite slow to look up and notice things usually, whether when or walking or when needing to direct his attention from one activity to another. It may be that when we next take him to an art gallery, which we did do before lock down he may well look at the pictures with more curious eye.
- You seem to know intuitively how to approach subjects with and work with people like Paul.
- Q. Did you think the pulling up of the curtain at the start and the finish was useful. I was trying to do it as a way of making a safe space and give a sense of arrival and finish. “Yes I liked the curtain idea. Because we know how long the session will last… Paul has very little sense of time and like you say by doing this action it helps him to recognise the start and finish of the activity. He can relate to a stage scenario in particular as he loves going to watch plays and pantomimes. He always sides with the baddies I think because they are the real and obvious characters in the performances. In fact he gets quite upset if they get killed off in the play!”