- Associated Press - Saturday, November 21, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Robert Shushan, a pioneer in teaching people with Down syndrome and other disabilities to work and learn independent living skills, has died. He was 86.

His son, Larry, tells the Los Angeles Times (https://lat.ms/1QWvKkz ) that Shushan died in San Diego on Nov. 9.

Shushan was a high school counselor in 1958 when his sister asked him to save a foundering parents group that tried to provide an alternative to institutionalizing the developmentally disabled - including her son.

Shushan guided the Culver City-based Exceptional Children’s Foundation for 40 years.

Shushan saw that the unconventional appearance of some disabled hampered their acceptance. His 1991 makeover of one man - fixing his misshapen teeth and counseling him on grooming and habits - prompted the 1991 TV movie “Behind the Mask,” starring Donald Sutherland.

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