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Olivia keeps on swimming: questions and activities

Geraldine Martin  |  05 March 2018

Reflection questions and activities for ‘Olivia keep on swimming’ in the Autumn 2018 edition.


Read the article. What are your first impressions?

If you should have someone in your class who has Down Syndrome or has a member of their family who has Down Syndrome ask them to talk about it to the rest of the class. The more we know about these things the more accepting we become of people with differences.

Whoever we are, with or without a disability, how important is it to have an optimistic view of the world as Olivia Hargroder has? What can we do as individuals to help people that we may know or may be in our class to enjoy each day that they are with us? 

Get into small groups and talk about whether you think you are an optimist or a pessimist. Why is it that some of us always see the glass as half full and why is it that some see the glass as half empty? What can we try and change if we are a pessimist?

This little girl (pictured above) came up and sat down next to Pope Francis at one of his weekly audiences. He held her hand while he continued to speak and did not send her back to her seat. Do you think Jesus would have treated her in the same way? Why?


What do you know about Down Syndrome? Google it on the Internet and write down all the things that are the causes of this syndrome? Try to find out how these people were treated over the centuries.

What do you want to do with your life when you finish school and what lengths would you go to, to achieve this? In silence, write down some of your thoughts and then discuss them with a friends next to you in a ‘Think, Pair, Share’, fashion.

Go to You Tube and look for videos on Olivia Hargroder. If you think that there should be a separate category for Down Syndrome athletes to compete at the Olympic games sign the petition on ‘Change the Box to allow athletes with Down Syndrome to compete at the Paralympics’

Olivia would also like to be an actress on Broadway. Are there any Down Syndrome actors that you know of? Research who they are and what have they achieved?

Activities for younger students

Ask the class whether they know what Down Syndrome is? Explain to them how it comes about. Watch ‘Down Syndrome Twins – one in a Million’ When it is finished (5 minutes) ask them what they think?

Would the video they watched make them treat people with Down Syndrome differently now?

Read them the story of ‘Olivia keeps on swimming?’ Do they think she is being overly optimistic about what she may be able to do?

Would people with Down Syndrome have been treated well at the time of Jesus? Why do you think they were or they weren’t? How would Jesus have treated anyone who had Down Syndrome that he came across in his travels. Show them the picture of Pope Francis with the little girl who joined him on the podium during his weekly audience.




Topic tags: sportandfairplay, socialjustice-australia, healthycommunitylife, heroesandrolemodels

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