"One of the main things for me is that all people with disabilities need to be able to speak up about issues that are important. It’s not every day a person with Down Syndrome gets to represent their community on an international level. I take this role seriously."
Michael Sullivan is just one of 21 stories released this year by Down Syndrome Australia celebrating World Down Syndrome Day (21 March) a global awareness day officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. https://www.downsyndrome.org.au/about-down-syndrome/our-stories/our-stories-2021/
The date for World Down Syndrome Day is also significant being the 21st day of the 3rd month, selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome.
On this day, people with Down Syndrome and those who live and work with them throughout the world organise and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness.
It is also an opportunity to create a single global voice advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down Syndrome.
Michael Sullivan is very passionate about his role as an international advocate.
For over two years I have been the Australian representative for the Down Syndrome International self-advocacy group.
When you are beginning in advocacy, you want to spend time to gather your ideas and thoughts around all of the important issues that affect people with disability.
You need that experience before you can work on an international level.
I am always building on my experience in my advocacy work and asking different questions of the other advocates in the international group. Because it’s not just about me as an individual, it’s about working together to address some of the major issues.
We talk about issues like inclusive education in schools. I have experience in this area from my previous work.
All areas in advocacy are important, but I think one of the biggest issues is bullying.
Anyone with a disability can experience bullying. It has to stop.
We have to address these issues at places like the Disability Royal Commission. It’s important to report these problems.
It’s important for all people with disability to stand up for their rights. Not just people with Down syndrome.
At Five Good Friends through our NDIS Participants Membership we are proud to work together with people with Down Syndrome and those that support them.
According to Down Syndrome Australia, people with Down Syndrome are now living longer, healthier lives.
More people with Down syndrome are now going to regular schools and getting jobs. But people with Down syndrome and their families are still face problems getting their rights met whether they be health, access to NDIS, inclusive education and access to employment
Whether it is helping around the home with domestic support, ensuring social and community participation or community nursing, our helpers and carers are here to support the needs, interests and aspirations of people with Down syndrome and their loved ones.
Underpinning the everything we do at Five Good Friends is the question why do people live wonderfully long, engaged and rich lives in homes and communities they love?
As always, our mission is to help people live vibrant lives in their own home, connected to the friends, community they love.