Magazine article USA TODAY

Downright Impressive Artwork

Magazine article USA TODAY

Downright Impressive Artwork

Article excerpt

Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, generally is caused by an error in the development of one of the reproductive cells that combine at conception, resulting in an individual with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. The overexpression of genes on chromosome 21 can impact cognition significantly. Yet, although all people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, this is not always indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual may possess.

There are approximately 3,900,000 developmentally disabled people in the U.S. The mission of art centers for individuals with disabilities is to provide a program that promotes creativity, independence, dignity, and community integration. To carry out this mission, goals have been articulated for individual participants, and for the organizations as a whole:

Artistic development. An opportunity is provided for individual growth. As the artist with disabilities works, he or she changes and progresses. Each stage has its own characteristics and excitement. There is no limit to what level of expressive accomplishment a person can achieve.

Creation of work of high artistic merit. Each person--no matter how limited intellectually, emotionally, or physically--is capable of artistic achievement at some level.

Integration of the personality through art. The act of creating serves as a catalyst in mobilizing strengths in the person to form a total production personality. Artists with disabilities learn to focus on their creative work.

Enhancement of self-esteem. Through their ability to express themselves, artists with disabilities develop a positive self-image. Recognition of their efforts by others who see their work gives them feelings of worth that carry over into other aspects of daily life.

Strengthening of ability to make decisions for oneself. …

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