The Teachings of Jon

Sun, 03/23/2014 - 8:00pm

Pictured: Jon and his father

The Teachings of Jon is an insightful and humorous documentary by Jennifer Owensby about her brother Jon, a 40-year-old man severely and profoundly affected by Down syndrome airing Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV. This program is part of Move to Include, a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to stimulate community dialogue about the perspectives of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Its mission is to ultimately build a community that celebrates abilities.

Although Jon may never accomplish much by conventional standards — he has an IQ of 20, cannot talk and earns less than $13.00 a year — he has a profound ability to teach others how to love. The program celebrates Jon exactly as he is, rather than focusing on changing Jon to fit into the world. From the opening shot, the film offers an up close and personal look at the realities of living with someone with severe mental retardation. The Teachings of Jon uncovers how Jon, a "family secret" who was locked away in an institution for the first seven years of his life, became the family treasure. While entertaining, this inspirational story of one family’s journey is also about honesty, redemption, acceptance and growth.

What did you think about the program? Tell us how you will be more inclusive of those with disabilities. Sign in below and post your comments.