Understanding through Play: Nicola Shirkey

Children with Downs Syndrome often experience a profound loss of hearing, vision or speech.  My master’s project offers non-disabled children between the ages of 8 and 10 a virtual experience of living with such a condition to enable a closer understanding and improve inclusion.


I have designed three stimulating interactive workshops that offer children a taste of what life might be like without one of their five senses.  By using aids such as blindfolds and headphones the participants gain a greater understanding of the challenges that disabled children face on a daily basis.

Nicola is from Dundee, and has an undergraduate degree in Interior and Environmental Design from DJCAD, University of Dundee.  She intends to pursue her studies with Dundee Rep Theatre and Downs Syndrome Scotland also incorporating other projects.

I would like to acknowledge the support and advice given to me by Amanda Lowson, Community Drama Officer, Creative Learning, Dundee Rep Theatre.  Robert Muirhead School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee. Moria Leck, Family Support Service Officer (North) Downs Syndrome Scotland and Graham Miller photojournalist and the official photographer for Downs Syndrome Scotland. (www.photohonesty.org)



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