March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day, the theme for 2022 is ‘Inclusion Means’. Over the next couple of weeks we will publish a series of blogs written by our members about what inclusion means to them. Mum Lorraine Edwards tells us about her son Cameron’s participation in a local musical theatre group.
Everyone has their own opinion and view of inclusion. For us, we don’t look at any groups Cameron goes to as being mainstream or additional needs, we view them all the same. As long as Cameron is enjoying going to them and getting something from it, that’s the main thing.
Cameron attends Dundee Youth Music Theatre where he definitely feels included in everything that goes on and is treated the same as every other person who attends. He has gained so much from being there; social skills, commitment and learning how to work part of a large group. It has built his confidence over the years. The biggest thing is that he has learnt something new whilst having fun.
It is just amazing seeing Cameron getting excited in the build up towards a show, knowing the preparation he has put in to get there and that everyone involved has pushed Cameron to be the best that he can be.
Youth theatre is something Cameron looks forward to every week. He always says he is going dancing for Grease Live! It’s part of his weekly routine and he is always saying Kenny (the choreographer) works him hard and he is tired when he comes home. For Cameron it’s not just the 2 hours on a Sunday of rehearsals, he is always dancing away to the songs on YouTube practising.
He enjoys going and is part of a team and I couldn’t ask for him to be more included. They have always done it, I have never asked for him to treated any differently. The other group members have accepted Cameron for who he is and he has made friends. Kenny and Lina (the director) had worked with Cameron at a previous musical theatre group and they know exactly how far they can push Cameron to get the best from him.
Cameron recently had the opportunity with the rest of group to meet a cast member from River City who attended one of their rehearsals. He thought it was great even though he has never watched the programme!
For us, it is important he is included and I know he will just keep growing and enjoying it all.
‘I hope you know how much we have always loved having Cameron involved. We know and can see first hand the impact it has had on him both as an individual and a performer in terms of his routine, discipline, interaction, movement skills and confidence.’ Kenny, choreographer, DYMT.