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ArtStreamers stand in a circle with a banner at the bottom that reads "ArtStream: Making the Arts Inclusive"

Wednesday, January 6th 2016

by LEON HARRIS AND ROBIN GOULD, ABC7

From the outside, it looks like the group of teens and young adults standing in a circle are just playing a version of the game known as “Telephone.” But instead of whispering in the ear of the person beside them, they are looking that person in the eyes and speaking loudly.

All the individuals have Down syndrome and are participating in a workshop offered through ArtStream, a Montgomery County nonprofit that brings the arts to under-served communities, and the workshop is teaching these teens and young adults communication skills.

“It’s basically a role play class, so we talk about things like conflict resolution, how do I talk to someone at the dinner table, and we role play these scenes,” says Nic Stearns, one of the artists who helped start up ArtStream 10 years ago.

As the teens and young adults improve their communication skills, they gain self-confidence. The goal is to ultimately make them more independent.

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