Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DD Special Needs: Orlando, Minature Golf with Down Syndrome Daughter

Our family, Anne, my 19-year old step daughter with Down Syndrome, Kellena 'normal' 12-year old daughter, my husband and I went to Orlando over Christmas break.  We went to Universal Studios Adventure Island (see post below.)

While in Orlando we played a game of miniature golf at Congo River Golf, an award winning miniature golf course.   The miniature golf course was like everything else in Orlando, incredible.  It had a coi pond, an alligator pen with at least 30 alligators, waterfalls, secret passages and twists, it was a very extravagant place. Our story of our time below our thoughts.

Anne and Kellena
Thoughts of miniature golf in our own words.
Anne, 19-year old with Down Syndrome:  Miniature golf okay, then she said I was awesome (I love Anne.)

Favorite:  Waterfalls and when her golf balls went in the water.
Least favorite:  Playing, not fun.

Kellena, 'normal' 12-year old:  I liked the water and the pipes the balls had to go through to get to the various levels.

Favorite:  Watching you (me, mom) think the alligators were dead and stuffed (they didn’t move much.)

Least favorite:  “Prizes.”  Kellena says to be certain I put quotes around the word prizes.  There was a scavenger hunt looking for objects around the golf holes, if you found all of the objects you got a ‘prize.’

Dad Cristo:  Fascinating, fun set-up, no real thoughts, miniature golf.  Have played at better miniature golf places although this miniature golf course is reputed to be the best miniature golf course in Florida, low standard.

Favorite:  The life-sized plane at the top of one of the holes.  I personally think it was really a helicopter with wings soldered to the sides.

Least Favorite:  Disappointed we couldn’t play with alligators.

Mom Karen:  I thought it was a fun diversion.

Favorite:  Hitting balls in the tubes that took the balls to different places.

Least favorite:  Being made fun of for thinking the alligators were stuffed.

Our time playing miniature golf:  
When we arrived at the golf course Anne decided she didn’t want to play golf, she was going to do her crossword puzzles.  Of course that didn’t work out and she ended up playing golf with the rest of us.  After picking out a blue golf ball and getting to the first green, Anne and the rest of us had a great time.   Anne had no ‘form’ whatsoever but somehow managed to get several hole-in-ones. 

It was difficult for Anne to wait her turn and to follow a few of the rules but she was good-natured about everything.  I find special needs kids often have difficulties being parts of groups and taking turns.  One of my favorite memories was working on turn taking with a group of special needs kids, one of them had Down syndrome. 

The game we were playing you had to pull leaves out of a toy tree, we kept asking the Down  syndrome boy (7-years old) to wait his turn but of course he didn’t.  My assistant tried to block the boy’s arms so he couldn’t grab any of the leaves and all of the sudden there were arms flying everywhere, the boy got all the leaves.  Great fun to watch.
It is important that we set expectations that everyone follows that makes the interrelationships more rewarding for us all.  And gives everyone a feeling of equality.

Any thoughts?  Anyone have any stories of fun or not so fun activities they play with their loved ones with Down syndrome?  Please share.

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