Man with Down syndrome gets into college

Getting an acceptance letter to college is often a joyful moment, but it was doubly so for 20-year-old Rion Holcombe, a young Spartanburg, South Carolina, man with Down syndrome who received his envelope in early December.

His mother posted the video of Holcombe opening his acceptance letter to her YouTube channel, along with a brief explanation:

“Rion was accepted into a special program called ClemsonLIFE. This is an amazing two year program for a small number (15) of young adults with special needs. This isn’t a program in which one can earn a degree. Right now, Clemson is one of five universities in SC with a LIFE program. I love that kids like Rion get to experience college life and this type of independence. Proud of my alma mater!”

In the ‘silent prison’ of autism, Ido speaks out

The high school student’s ‘Ido in Autismland’ is part memoir and part protest, a compelling message to educators on how to teach people such as him.

By Thomas Curwen, LA Times, 8:00 AM PST, December 21, 2013

I  t-h-i-n-k …

Ido Kedar sits at the dining room table of his West Hills home. He fidgets in his chair, slouched over an iPad, typing. He hunts down each letter. Seconds pass between the connections.

… A-u-t-i-s-m-l-a-n-d …

He coined the word, his twist on Alice’s Wonderland.

“C’mon,” says his mother, Tracy. “Sit up and just finish it, Ido. Let’s go.”

He touches a few more keys, and then, with a slight robotic twang, the iPad reads the words he cannot speak.

I think Autismland is a surreal place.

For most of his life, Ido has listened to educators and experts explain what’s wrong with him. Now he wants to tell them that they had it all wrong.

Last year, at the age of 16, he published “Ido in Autismland.” The book — part memoir, part protest — has made him a celebrity in the autism world, a young activist eager to defy popular assumptions about a disorder that is often associated with mental deficiency.

He hopes that the world will one day recognize the intelligence that lies behind the walls of his “silent prison,” behind the impulsivity and lack of self-control.

I want people to know that I have an intact mind.

Yet Ido gets nervous easily and likes to retreat to his room or to a cooking program on television. At one point, after answering a few questions, he steps outside to pace beside the family swimming pool.

He plucks a rose and puts its petals into his mouth.

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A Disability, and a Mother’s Embrace

Book Review, New York Times – Separating a Son From a Down Syndrome Diagnosis in ‘Raising Henry’.  By SUSANNAH MEADOWS

Rachel Adams is an Upper West Side intellectual who gave birth to a boy with Down syndrome six years ago. In this era of advanced prenatal screening, the first question more than one friend asked her was: How could this have happened?

On the surface it seemed like an expression of concern. But what it meant was: How could this child have happened?

To Ms. Adams, the idea that her son’s very existence requires an explanation — that he is here because of some failure of medical science — is appalling. Her book is less a memoir about mothering a child with Down syndrome than it is her attempt to set people straight. The syndrome is a disability, as she makes clear, not an illness and certainly not a tragedy. Continue reading A Disability, and a Mother’s Embrace