Today (March 21, 2021) is World Down Syndrome Day. The aim of Lots of Socks – World Down Syndrome day is to raise awareness of Down syndrome as well as raise funds for Down Syndrome NSW. It is a day that can promote discussion about the acceptance of all our differences as well as what makes us fantastic as an individual.
Thank you to all the members in our community who participated in our fundraising and advocacy efforts on Friday and Saturday by wearing brightly coloured socks ? and making a gold coin donation ?
The spirit of advocacy, inclusivity, support and compassion is so strong in our community and were thankful to everyone who contributes to that.
Did you know about 1 in 2000 Australians are living with Down Syndrome?
You’ll notice that there’s a key theme when it comes to our participant’s comments we’re sharing today; and that’s that they all want us to be more inclusive.
What does this mean? ?
?Treat everyone living with Down Syndrome with the respect and compassion we wish to receive
?Be conscious of including everyone, whether that’s at school, work or a social event
?Do your research on Down Syndrome and share your knowledge
?Be an advocate for change! Declare you’re commitment to a better more inclusive tomorrow and encourage those around you to do the same
Some of our participants living with Down Syndrome have been kind enough to let us share glimpses of their lifestyles, goals, what makes them unique and what they want you to know about Down Syndrome.
First, we’d like to introduce you to Rizza Estrada ?
Rizza is second from the left (wearing pink) in the above image.
Rizza’s current NDIS goals are improving her communication with family and friends as well as increasing her social participation, independence and confidence getting out and about.
Rizza’s on the right path to achieving these goals with regular exercise with our allied health assistant Vanessa, speech pathology sessions and attending Group Day Program.
Rizza enjoys all of her supports, but loves Group Day Program. Her favourite activities include cooking, shopping and eating out.
Rizza is shy so finds it hard to make friends, but Group Day Program is helping her develop more friendships and come out of her shell.
Rizza’s love for playing and listening to music, swimming and her dog are just some of the things that make Rizza unique.
“It’s my wish that when I’m out in public, people treat me like a normal person.”
Introducing Luke Wilson ?
Therapy Care participant Luke Wilson, 22 years old, is currently working on developing meaningful friendships with like-minded people.
One of Luke’s NDIS goals was securing employment, and we’re proud to say he has done that! He is loving his job at Disability Services Australia.
He works out with the Therapy Care team three times a week and occasionally attends the Day Group Program on Saturdays.
Luke loves working out and trying new exercises with his trainer. Getting stronger and staying fit makes Luke feel really good about himself.
He also loves hanging out with his friends, Karlee, Lee, Frances and Tanuj, as well making new friends and venturing to new places in the community at Group Day program.
Luke loves to dance and is great at it too!
Luke wants everyone to know that living with Down Syndrome doesn’t stop him from having a good time and rich life.
“Even though I have Down syndrome I don’t want people treating me differently or doubting my capabilities.”
Introducing Mitchell Cuthbertson ?
Therapy Care participant Mitchell Cuthbertson, 22 years old, is currently working on improving his independent living, including communication and overall wellbeing.
Mitchell attends Therapy Care’s Group Day Program and loves being out in the community and making new friends.
Mitchell is a treasured member of the Therapy Care community. He is known for his big heart, caring personality and great sense of humour.
He loves dancing, entertaining and socialising with others.
Mitch wants people to know that living with Down Syndrome is the least interesting thing about him.
“Each individual who lives with Down Syndrome is unique and has their own personality.”
“I am special not because I have Down Syndrome but because of all the parts of my personality and interests that make me unique.”
Introducing David Caballes ?
David’s current goals are to improve his health and fitness.
David loves his Therapy Care gym sessions with allied health professionals Jai and Vanessa.
He has a passion for all things health and fitness including bodybuilding.
David is super friendly and outgoing and loves socialising, particularly with the opposite sex!
David wants people to know that people living with Down Syndrome are inclusive, and embrace others living with Down Syndrome as well as other disabilities.
Introducing Karlee Parkes ?
21-year-old Therapy Care participant, Karlee Parkes’ NDIS goals are building her social skills, improving her health and fitness, and increasing gaining more independence so she can do more on her own.
Karlee attends our Group Day program where she has made many meaningful friendships. She also sees our speech pathologist Kira to work on her communication skills and exercises in the gym with our team of allied health professionals where she is learning about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Karlee’s favourite activities include hanging out with her friends at Group Day Program, playing tennis and going to the beach.
Karlee loves that she is cute, smart and super friendly (and we couldn’t agree more!) and wants people to know that those living with Down Syndrome are really great at having relationships with people in their lives.
Introducing Jarrod Nicholas ?
22-year-old Therapy Care participant, Jarrod’s current NDIS goals is to further develop his daily living skills to live more independently.
Jarrod attends Group Day Program, exercises with allied health assistant Vanessa, attends speech pathology sessions and receives occupational therapy.
Jarrod loves coming to the gym. He says, “exercise makes me happy and gives me a lot of energy. I want to improve my health and wellbeing as well as my fine motor skills and build strength.”
Jarrod is proud of who he is (as are we!). He is friendly, caring, loves the footy, working at the pub, listening and dancing to music, bowling and joking and laughing with new and old friends.
“I want people to know that those living with Down Syndrome can do anything. It doesn’t stop me from doing what I love.”
“I work and am independent in my daily life. I am confident and am always meeting new people.”
When Rizza, Luke, Mitch, David, Karlee and share their stories and insights about living with Down Syndrome, it gives us the great privilege of understanding. And when we know better, we do better. Thank you for letting us share your insights.