Chess PhotoT. Chess Mitchell: Staff member at NDSC and Expert on Movies

Chess has recently reviewed two popular holiday movies for our friends at NDSC. BIG HERO 6 and PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR  . . . these are his findings:

NDSC: Between the two movies, which one did you like the best?

Chess’s answer: Big Hero 6

NDSC: How many stars would you give Penguins of Madagascar out of 5 stars for excellence?

Chess’s answer: 5 stars = Funny and cute!

NDSC: What did you like most about the movie Big Hero 6?imagesA75PH1FW

Chess’s answer: Hero honors his brother. Family is important.

NDSC: Which part of Big Hero 6 was the most interesting?

Chess’s answer: It was cool to see them become Superheros.

NDSC: Back to the Penguins, was there an especially funny moment you liked?

Chess’s answer: I like watching them act like brothers.

NDSC: Final thoughts from Chess on these holiday movies . . .

Chess’s answer: Penguins is a better holiday movie and Big Hero 6 is a better family movie. Go see them and enjoy!Penguins

The National Down Syndrome Congress is disappointed in The 700 Club, and the comments from its founder, Pat Robertson, as they relate to children with Down syndrome. Tuesday’s program is the second time this year we’ve been made aware of Mr. Robertson using the word “Mongoloid” to describe individuals with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), in addition to talking about the condition in a very demeaning way.

We’d like Mr. Robertson to realize that it is the year 2014, where words like these are no longer acceptable. NDSC board member, Dr. George Capone, director of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Kennedy-Krieger Institute, was surprised by Mr. Robertson’s remarks. “It’s disturbing that a person with great influence over a large number of followers, would assert such misinformation about Down syndrome (and cleft palate, for that matter) in this public forum, using not only inaccurate information, but also outdated and hurtful terminology”, Dr. Capone said.

NDSC invites Mr. Robertson to take the time to learn more about Down syndrome, and get to know people who are living with this condition. As the leading national resource of support and information for anyone seeking to learn about Down syndrome, we would be happy to assist.

Chess PhotoT. Chess Mitchell: Staff member at NDSC and Expert on Movies

Chess has recently reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for our friends at NDSC. These are his findings:

NDSC: How many stars would you give TMNT out of 5 stars for excellence?

Chess’s answer: 5 stars = Awesome and Funny!

NDSC: Is TMNT a movie option to watch for a Family Night?

Chess’s answer: It’s PG13 so best for older kids and parents.

NDSC: Did you like the action parts in the movie?

Chess’s answer: OH YEAH! I love it! Fun to watch the action parts.

NDSC: Do you have a favorite turtle and why?

Chess’s answer: Raphael because he gets mad and makes the face I make when I get upset.

NDSC: Final thoughts from Chess on TMNT . . .

Chess’s answer: “Oh man!! Great movie, you gotta see it for yourself!”5422db738726f

We enjoyed this radio documentary very much, and hope you’ll listen, too. Learn more about Jane and how the piece came to life below.
http://www.janeleder.net/MoreWork.htm

For years, I drove by Misericordia, a Chicago campus for over 600 adults with intellectual and often physical disabilities.  I promised myself that some day I would volunteer.  That time arrived over four years ago.  I attended a workshop for new volunteers and was then assigned to work in the Computer Room—not because of my technical skills but because of my background as an English teacher and the secondary focus in the room on writing and reading comprehension.

I began my volunteering with some trepidation.  I’d never worked with people with Down syndrome or other disabilities.  What would it be like?  Would I be comfortable with people different from me?  Would they appreciate my contribution or just see me as one more volunteer?  How would I react to the physical symptoms like stuttering, drooling, or an uneven gait?  Would I be patient when words failed some of the residents?

I worked hard to develop a personal connection with every person in the group.  One person with Down syndrome loved to ask me about my family.  Another resident was stuck on computer games, particularly “Wheel of Fortune.”  I became his partner, and we played the game with gusto.  Another resident enjoyed sports and played on several of Misericordia’s teams.  I made sure to comment on the gold medals he proudly wore around his neck after each game or playoff series.

It didn’t take long for the residents to fall for me and me for them.  Each week, I was greeted with shouts of “We love you,” “Here’s Jane,” “You look beautiful today, just like a movie star!”  Who can resist such unconditional love and respect?  Not me!  And that respect goes both ways.  I marvel at how these newfound friends take their disabilities in stride, how, in many cases, they aren’t even aware of their differences.

I never lose touch with these residents.  When I’m lucky enough to spend two months each winter in Mexico, I skype once a week and often send photos of the people and activities in San Miguel de Allende.

What have I learned from these years of volunteer work?  I’ve learned that folks with intellectual disabilities have the same interests, goals, and dreams as the public as a whole.  They talk lovingly about their boyfriends and girlfriends, their families, and their friends.  They strive to express their feelings, even when words fail them.  Many work outside jobs and can’t wait to put their paycheck in the bank.  They are passionate about everything from singing to movement to art.

And I have learned to park what often seem like personal problems at the door.  How can I complain when these adults have overcome enormous challenges?

Over a year ago, I decided to write and produce a radio documentary that profiles three of the adults in “my” group, including two people with Down syndrome.  I recorded interviews, talked to parents, discussed Down syndrome and other disabilities with experts.  And I included my personal journey.  The result is “What A Difference Differences Make,” an 18-minute piece that I hope will generate discussion and touch listeners’ hearts.  The piece is available at this page www.janeleder.net.  Any feedback or radio contacts are greatly appreciated.

 

Chess at Top Golf

Chess with awesome trainer Ashley, on his first day at Top Golf

T. Chess Mitchell has recently started a second job at Top Golf (www.topgolf.com) and is excited to share about his first week of employment there! As you may know, Chess also works as the Office/Social Media Assistant here at the NDSC. Now with his additional hours at Top Golf, he is thrilled to be working Monday through Friday! Below is a short interview with Chess about his new experience.

Why did you want to work at Top Golf?
“It looked like a fun and exciting place to work!”

What are your top three favorite things about working at Top Golf have been after one week?
“I enjoy the task of polishing the silverware for the customers so they can have an awesome time at Top Golf. I like polishing better than the rolling but I am good at the rolling part, too.”
“I get to wear the cool Top Golf shirts as a staff member and the ‘Rock Star in Training’ nametag.”
“Yummy food – breakfast, lunch and dinner options. My favorite so far is the American Cheeseburger sliders.”

Share a little about your new coworkers and supervisors. How has it been meeting all the new people?
“Clayton (the guy who interviewed & oversees me): He is Good Guy! He’s got my back.”
“I like going to the staff Team Meetings and yelling really loud during the Team cheer at the end of meeting.”
“Hannah is a coworker that is nice, helpful and cool.”

What are you most looking forward to in your new job?
“Bringing my parents to see my second job and having fun playing golf here with them.”
“Having my NDSC coworkers come in to play golf with me when I get done with work so we can laugh together.”
“Taking my girlfriend out with the extra money from my paycheck.”

GDSF and NDSC Logos

DENVER & ATLANTA (August 22, 2014) – The Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress are outraged and saddened by recent public comments by the British author Richard Dawkins.

In response to a question from a concerned woman about the possibility of having a child with Down syndrome, Dawkins strongly argued for the elimination of people with the condition.

“…The decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare,” Dawkins wrote on his blog.

Global Down Syndrome Foundation executive director Michelle Sie Whitten responded: “It is amazing to me in the 21st century that there is so much misinformation and discrimination against people with Down syndrome. I would hope the world is as appalled by Richard Dawkins’ statements as it was by the recent case of twin baby Gammy, where his Australian biological parents abandoned him to his surrogate in Thailand. The fact is people with Down syndrome can and do live long, happy and productive lives.”

“We firmly believe and advocate that ‘We’re More Alike Than Different,’ and statements like Richard Dawkins’ promote division instead of unity,” said David Tolleson, executive director of the National Down Syndrome Congress. “People with Down syndrome should not be treated like second-class citizens, and anyone making that argument sets back the great progress that has been made in terms of equality for all people.”

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress strongly advocate for the availability of current and accurate information about Down syndrome. Below are specific facts about the condition in the United States:

Lifespan – Today, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome is nearly 60 years.

Termination rates – The best available statistics in the U.S. are that an estimated 67 percent of women who receive an amniocentesis resulting in a positive test result for Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. But over 95 percent of pregnant women don’t even elect to receive an amniocentesis.

Medical care & research – There have been great strides in medical care and research that have doubled the lifespan of people with Down syndrome over the last 30 years.

Educational opportunities – People with Down syndrome are included in public schools. Many complete high school, and increasing numbers are going to college or get vocational training.

Voting & Employment – Many people with Down syndrome work, volunteer and vote.

Marriage, Siblings & Self-advocates– Despite potential challenges, personal accounts and studies show most families that have a child with Down syndrome are stable, successful and happy, and that siblings often report having increased levels of compassion and empathy. One major study on marriages and Down syndrome shows that the divorce rate among parents of children with Down syndrome is lower than the national average.

For the most current, accurate information and resources associated with people with Down syndrome visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org/facts or www.ndsccenter.org.

About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Formally established in 2009, Global has the primary focus of supporting the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic home in the U.S. committed to research and medical care for people with the condition. Fundraising and government advocacy that corrects the alarming disparity of national funding for people with Down syndrome is a major short-term goal. Global organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show — the single-largest annual fundraiser benefiting people with Down syndrome. Programmatically, Global organizes and funds many programs and conferences, including the Dare to Play Football Camp with Ed McCaffrey, the Dare to Cheer Camp with the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, and the Global Down Syndrome Educational Series. Global is an inclusive organization without political or religious affiliation or intention.

About the National Down Syndrome Congress
Founded in 1973, the National Down Syndrome Congress is the oldest national organization for people with Down syndrome, their families, and the professionals who work with them. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization, the NDSC provides free technical support and information about issues related to Down syndrome throughout the lifespan, as well as on matters of public policy relating to disability rights.  Best known for its annual convention – the largest of its type in the world – the National Down Syndrome Congress is a grassroots organization recognized for its “family” feel, its “We’re More Alike than Different” public awareness campaign, and its outreach to individuals from diverse backgrounds.

 

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Chess Capt American EditedT. Chess Mitchell: Staff member at NDSC and Expert on Movies

Chess has recently reviewed Amazing Spiderman 2 for our friends at NDSC. These are his findings:

NDSC: How many stars would give Amazing Spiderman 2 out of 5 stars for excellence?

Chess’s answer: 5 stars = Action Packed!

NDSC: Why did you want to see Amazing Spiderman 2?

Chess’s answer: I love action movies and seeing action movies with my girlfriend. Spiderman is awesome.amazing-spider-man-2-reviews-more-focused-on-franchise-building-than-storytelling

NDSC: Which part of the movie did you think was the most interesting?

Chess’s answer: Don’t want to give it away but there was a cool part with a Rhino.

NDSC: Did you like Emma Stone’s character in this movie?

Chess’s answer: Yes, she’s cute. ;)

NDSC: Final thoughts from Chess on Amazing Spiderman 2 . . .

Chess’s answer: “Like Father, Like Daughter”

Chess PhotoT. Chess Mitchell: Staff member at NDSC and Expert on Movies

Chess has recently reviewed Rio 2 for our friends at NDSC. These are his findings:

NDSC: How many stars would give Rio 2 out of 5 stars for excellence?

Chess’s answer: 5 stars = Funny, Funny, Funny!Rio 2

NDSC: Is Rio 2 a movie option to watch for a Family Night?

Chess’s answer: It’s for kids and a family movie so it’s a good choice for Family Night.

NDSC: Did you like the singing in the movie?

Chess’s answer: Yes, but I like the funny parts best.

NDSC: What kind of food do you recommend when watching the movie?

Chess’s answer: Popcorn and Candy, no Chicken or bird food.

NDSC: Final thoughts from Chess on Rio 2 . . .

Chess’s answer: “I love it.”

Chess Capt American EditedT. Chess Mitchell: Staff member at NDSC and Expert on Movies

Chess has recently reviewed Captain America for our friends at NDSC.
These are his findings:

NDSC: How many stars would you give Captain America out of 5 stars for excellence?

Chess’s answer: 5 stars = Action Packed!!

NDSC: Why did you want to see Captain America?

Chess’s answer: USA – RED, WHITE & BLUE baby! Proud to be an American and wanted to see the movie about Captain America.CaptainAmerica

NDSC: Which part of the movie did you enjoy the most?

Chess’s answer: Return of Captain America’s old friend.

NDSC: Is Captain America a good movie to watch for a Family Night?

Chess’s answer: Good for grown ups and teens but not for little kids. Action packed violence might be hard for little kids.

NDSC: Final thoughts from Chess on Captain America . . .

Chess’s answer: True friendship can survive anything!

The-LEGO-Movie-WallpaperT. Chess Mitchell: Staff member at NDSC and Expert on Movies

Chess has recently reviewed The Lego Movie for our friends at NDSC. His findings are a bit surprising! Read to find out why.

NDSC: How many stars would give The Lego Movie out of 5 stars for excellence?

Chess’s answer: 1 star = not so good

 

NDSC: The Lego Movie has been pretty popular. What made you give it only 1 star?

Chess’s answer: I was not impressed with the main character Emmett. Also was not a fan of “Bad Cop” character.

 

NDSC: Was there a part of the movie you did like?

Chess’s answer: When the master builders and superheroes showed up in the movie.lego-movie-1

 

NDSC: Would you recommend The Lego Movie for younger children?

Chess’s answer: Yes, better for kids rather than grown-ups.

 

Final thoughts from Chess?

Chess’s answer: Believe in your heart is something good from the movie.