Saturday, May 13, 2006

PBS stations showing documentary about man with Down Syndrome

The website for The Teachings of Jon is here. Showtimes are here. Hat tip: Riverbend Down Syndrome Parent Support Group (which, by the way, has an extensive Book List).

I haven't seen the film, but here's some of what the filmmaker Jennifer Owensby, Jon's sister, says on the film's website:

Jon brings my family real joy; he got us out of our heads and into our hearts and taught us so much about love. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to make this film, to share his wonderful personality and magical spirit with others. This is the story of our journey and how Jon has changed us for the better. I hope that our story offers others the many blessings that Jon has offered us...

From the Riverbend support group website:

What her 60-minute film does so unexpectedly and so well is to portray Jon as affectionate, lazy, messy, entertaining, imperious, but altogether a fun guy to hang with. It begins with vintage footage of Jon's reunion with his family [ed. note: Jon was in an institution until he was seven] – his father, Dr. Norm Owensby, a psychiatrist; his mother, Lou, a psychotherapist; older siblings Charlton and Jennice; and Jennifer. More recent scenes depict Jon at work – in a vocational center, where he gets paid to pull threads off cones from a local mill but goofs off a lot – and at play – swimming, intently folding paper, performing yoga poses, or playing with the rolling pins he gets for Christmas ("Jon doesn't do toys," says Lou Owensby). At the family dinner table, Jon uses his personal sign language – which combines emphatic clapping, chest-pounding and pointing – to demand more folding paper, call for his Furby, or just say "I love you." —Theodore Fischer, Current, Dec. 5, 2005

The Teachings of Jon is a production of Waking Heart Films.

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