He was middle aged, had Down Syndrome, and spoke no English, but he said hello and quickly answered my introductory question about how long he had worked in that shop. I apologized for not understanding his answer and he realized that I was at a disadvantage in this conversation. …
An enthusiastic basketball player who currently works at Goodwill and attends WCI in Woodstock, Josh Masters is a 20-year-old with Down syndrome who would love to work in the fitness industry at a YMCA or gym. He has recently been accepted into Lambton College where he will study sports and recreation this fall!
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“I never dreamed he’d go to college,” said his exuberant mother Michele Masters. “I never dreamed of that possibility.”
The oldest of four children, two of Josh’s siblings also have Down Syndrome and one has a duo diagnosis of autism, making life a little hectic at times for the Masters’ family.
For example, in February, while her mother Pal Wilson lay dying in palliative care, Masters had to ferry her four children to 27 various professional appointments in 19 days.
But despite it all, Masters and her husband Dave waste little time on self-pity, preferring to look at each of her children as “a gift from God.”
She said her family thrives thanks to strong medical, community and church support and credits agencies such as Woodstock District Developmental Services, the Child and Parent Resource Institute, Good Beginnings Daycare and the Down Syndrome Parent Association for their strong support.
As an outspoken advocate for her special needs children, Masters, a stay-at-home mom by necessity, has always pushed for their inclusion at school.
“I think Joshua’s success and ability to do what he’s doing has a lot to do with being included,” she said. “Joshua has never been in a developmental class, he always went mainstream in school.”