Lecturer from the School of Clinical Therapies collaborates on video to raise awareness of people with Down Syndrome amid COVID-19
The video, which coincides with International Friendship Day on Thursday 30th July, features the original song ‘Best Friend’ performed by singer songwriter Brian Kennedy and performances from children with Down Syndrome and their siblings.
Down Syndrome Cork has teamed up with University College Cork, Music4Children and singer songwriter Brian Kennedy to release a heart-warming video to coincide with International Friendship Day, which takes place this year on July 30th.
Directed by Conor Slattery and produced by Dr. Eva McMullan (Music4Children and UCC) in association with Dr. Pauline Frizelle (Lecturer School of Clinical Therapies), Down Syndrome Cork and with the kindness of Brian Kennedy (performer and songwriter), the video was created to raise awareness of the vulnerability of people with Down Syndrome to COVID- 19 and to encourage members of the public to remember people with additional needs during the pandemic.
Dr McMullan said, "With restrictions now being lifted we wanted to make people aware that the pandemic is still with us and that we need to be vigilant in order to protect those most vulnerable in society - who better to deliver this message than the children."
She continued, “I think the lockdown made us all reflect on the concept of friendship and many of the children found that their best friend during this time was their siblings or their Mum and Dad. This is depicted so beautifully in this video.”
Conor Slattery, director of the video, stated, “When Eva first contacted me I was flattered. So I was immediately interested in the challenge of directing via video calls and remotely collaborating with Eva’s team and the stars of the video via their parents. There’s a great joy in the laughter of children. It’s a sound of genuine happiness. The interest shown and the joy displayed by the kids in ‘Best Friend’ made it compelling to direct and edit and makes it compelling to watch.”
Speaking on the production of the short video, Alison Nolan of Down Syndrome Cork said, “We were overwhelmed at Down Syndrome Cork by the kindness and generosity of Brian Kennedy and the children just adored the song. Special thanks is also owed to Eva, Conor and Pauline for making this wonderful video but for also making it such an enjoyable process.”
The video also emphasises the importance of Lámh signs to children with Down Syndrome. Dr. Pauline Frizelle demonstrated several Lámh signs, accompanied by the children.
Lámh is the manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland. Dr. Frizelle stated, “It was a pleasure to be involved in this project – it was a great initiative by Dr. Eva McMullan to raise awareness of people with intellectual disability during this Covid pandemic. Lámh is such an important method of communication to help build friendships and include all people in society."
Dr. McMullan is currently working on a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project with Down Syndrome Cork, Dr. Yvonne Nolan, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and Dr. Jason Chan and Dr. Annalisa Setti, School of Applied Psychology. Funded by the College of Medicine and Health at UCC, the project is exploring the benefits of Music on the neurobiological development of children with Down syndrome. The project Dr McMullan states, is about celebrating ability and the importance of music engagement in the development of all children.
The video is available to watch here.