Saturday, 26 September 2015

Discrimination ain't cool, or acceptable...FULLSTOP !!!!

Social media went mad, and so it should have, what a disgrace.

A young man, with his family were refused entry to a JB HiFi shop in QLD.
 Apparently the security guard  reviewed a photo on his phone and said
he 'looked like someone else who has Down syndrome'

What makes this event even worse, was that even after realizing the mistaken identity,
 the security guard & manager refused to allow him entry.

The manager of the store after asking for an apology, added further insult to this event by   boldly announcing "He would never, ever, ever get an apology" from him and that he had "the right to stop anyone he pleased from entering the store".

Although the manager & the security guard were WAY out of line,  I also need to question JB's management and training procedures.

You would have thought, with such easy access to social media and a worldwide audience in seconds, that they may have realized they need to train their staff and management to behave in a manner that is respectful and humane to all!

Big and small organizations & businesses need to really understand the damage they do to their brand - as well as to the innocent individual and loved ones.


Sadly this type of discrimination from traders is not that uncommon. 

Chloe & I have been affected. She went into a bookshop in Box Hill Melbourne 
when she was 17 years old. I was in another store when I heard the most bloodcurdling roar...I bolted out of the store & into to alleyway to find Chloe, sobbing at the top of her voice. After calming her down, she told me the man in the bookshop kicked her out!!!

Well, i immediately turned into a ragging bull!!!
We marched into that shop, At first I was very contained & asked for an explanation. 

His explanation..."children without their parents are not allowed in his shop."

"So you don't allow 17year olds in your shop?" I said, he replied,  "Well yes, but not people under 10" 

And I need to say at this point...Miss Chloe may be short, but with a very well developed body, she sure doesn't look 10yo!!!

"My daughter is 17yo, so what is your problem"

"Well I didn't know she was that old...I thought she was 10"

"So you didn't think to ask her????"

Eyes down, lots of fidgeting: " Huummm, well no...."

After warning him that what he had done was illegal & I am thinking of reporting him to the discrimination board he came out with this little gem:

"I don't discriminate against people with disabilities....I SELL RAFFLE TICKETS FOR THEM EVERY YEAR"

Yet he doesn't give (the people with disabilities) even the slightest respect to ask them how old they are...probably assumed she can't talk.... BUT he thinks buying a raffle ticket is enough!!!

The very sad thing about these incidences is that the traders never realize in the long term the lingering damage this kind of attitude does to the families.

8 years on & I still have a knot in my stomach every time Chloe enters a store or restaurant alone...

Life for families with a loved one with a disability is not an easy journey.

Hows about organizations start jumping on the support wagon and making a ZERO tolerance rule against any type of discrimination. 

People with disabilities and their families are only asking to be treated with the same reverence you treat your other customers.

NEVER assume...just ask...and acknowledge...
It really ain't that hard....just an attitude change & some training in how to treat people.

Chloe & I would be more than happy to come to your training days and talk about how people with disabilities are more alike than different then anyone else.

Just email me at: and we will talk!!!


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Our cards are on the table



It's a sad fact, that Down syndrome has only been recognised as a permanent disability in this country by Federal Government in the last 4 years.

Prior to this, people with Down syndrome were put through disgusting and embarrassing processes including having to justify their "condition" by filling in copious pages of forms AND have their doctor do the same annually, to confirm the disability hadn't gone away.

People with a disability also need to get a letter from their doctor to confirm their disability, for use with superannuation funds, banks etc. 

They also need to be present, so the doctor can confirm the disability hasn't disappeared like some miracle from above. The major problem is they can't get one generic
these organisations need their very own letter from the doctor!!!

When Chloe's' dad committed suicide, I had to get 6 letters from my doctor within 6 months for various organisations..all stating exactly the same thing..


So I got to thinking, why don't we look at creating,
Permanent Card for People with Permanent Disabilities

Advantages to the Government
  • Less clogged doctors waiting rooms and emergency rooms at hospitals 
(My doctor said he fills on one of these forms AT LEAST ONCE A DAY) !! 
It doesn't take a genius to figure out the sums....

How many doctors in this fine country, times 365 days per year = lots of disabled people - in waiting rooms Queuing up to get a captain obvious letter!!!

  •  Massive savings on Medicare
Looking at the figures above, a lot of these people are not going to pay the doctors fee to find out what they already know..I know I wouldn't!!! So I would bulk bill the visit. 
Even if you look at half the people bulk-billing,  that is a huge financial strain on the bottom line.

  • Less wages

The Government would be able to reduce the copious amounts of paperwork, therefore reducing the number of people processing said paperwork.

Advantages to the person with Disability

Many find this process very humiliating, as they feel they are being punished or guilty for having a permanent disability.

  • Less Stress

Carers endure enormous amounts of stress just trying to get the regular things done in a day. Making them do an unnecessary trip to their doctor and Centerlink, as well as having to fill in forms is just cruel, and can tip some over the edge who are just keeping it together.

  • Financial savings
For those unable to get bulk billing, the out-of-pocket cost for the doctors visit (or the doctor coming to them in the case of a person unable to be moved) will be substantial, and with the NDIS on the horizon, I believe it is time to rethink introducing a permanent disability card.
It can be rolled out as part of the NDIS program.

We already have a heath care card, for those who deserve it, and this is recognised as an approved form of proof for many things in life, MAKING IT EASIER for people to live... from concessions on registration and medication, through to health services and the system in general.

So this just shows it can be done. 

Imagine how much easier this would make peoples lives,  that already have enough difficulty, and should not have to justify their condition to everyone all the time via the medical community.

It's time our politicians and advisers took a step back and watched the struggle that those, who are living with this current system have to battle.... 

then said  "lets do this! for all with a permanent disability.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Down syndrome is not a jail sentence

When we have our babies with Down syndrome, we tend to be full of fear for them & us & what sorts of horrible things will happen to them.

I made a very conscious decision very early on in Chloe's life that I wasn't going to look after her forever. I was told our kids LOVE routine. I HATE routine and was not going to let a baby force me into lifetime routines. 

SO I deliberately raised her without routines.

She had physio from 6 weeks old. I wanted her to learn as much as she could before she was 6, because some-one told me these are the years we learn the most. She sat within the max age limit of 'normal' babies with all her milestones and I believe this is because she was pushed. But I have to say, she is also a very strong minded person & if she really wants to do something, she will practice & practice till she gets it - or decided she doesn't want it any more.

Some one once told me an IQ means very little.

They explained that a person can have a high IQ , but not believe in themselves and never reach their potential people with low IQs, but high self-esteem can reach their potential and surprise everyone. I really see this, with Miss Chloe, she is ALWAYS achieving when I expect her not to.

From very early, I decided that we would teach her everything & once she could do it, I would rarely do it for her again. I won't do for others what they can do for themselves, so I decided Chloe would be no different.

 This also went for speaking for her. From when she was approx 4 year old, we would go to the local food court for Fri dinner. I wanted her to learn to behave appropriately in a restaurant & decided this was a safe environment to learn.

 Early days I would go with her & order for her, but as soon as she started saying words, I would not jump in (even though the sales person & Chloe would be looking at me with pleading eyes). 

The sales people learnt patience & Chloe learnt to speak for herself & I learnt to step back. 

Now days, she never needs me to buy anything for her & she checks herself in at doctors & dentists & such & pays by eftpos. Yes, I taught her to use the eftpos machine  as well!!! I only ever have a low maximum in the account. So if anyone tries to take her money, they won't get much!

 We taught her to walk in high heel shoes so she could wear them when she was a bridesmaid for her sisters wedding.

She went all the way through school in a special school and this was wonderful for HER. She still has many of the same friends she had when she was 6yo. She has many friends and a boyfriend and a HUGE social life!!!

She also has many friends without special needs and hangs out with them as well.
Over the years, Chloe has learnt to cook, do her laundry, clean house & has to keep her lounge, en-suite & bedroom clean.  She has been taught budgeting and how to buy groceries from on -line.

Yes, she can use a phone (too well), texts (we LOVE prescriptive text, heehee), figures out how to skype & helps me figure out what is wrong with our computers when they fail us.

She travels on public transport & if she gets confused or lost, she can confidently ask someone to help her. I have never believed the world is a bad  & dangerous place & she has never been taught this. I actually it is more dangerous for her to never take risks and live!!

She has flown alone interstate from the age of 12yo & has even flown international alone. Yes, we had a plan & she was involved, but she still does these things!

She has sailed a yacht, is a black-belt in karate & a helper teacher, learnt to surf, been trekking for 5 days - where she had to pitch her own tent.

When we travel overseas, she has to lug her own suitcase & backpack. I bought a suitcase to suit her height & ability.

I force her to do things I believe she can or will enjoy.
she recently asked my why I make her do things she doesn't want to, I replied with
"So you know you won't like it". Thus was when I booked us in for a fish massage (the fish nibble your feet).

We have been hot air ballooning, jet-boating, ridden in a racing car, slept in a train,
rode pillion on the back of a motor bike!!

We go to at least 1 live show at the theater a year & to live rock concerts.

Her week is full of doing constructive things like working in a cafe, doing reception at her inclusion center, volunteering at Meals on Wheels, doing Personal Training & doing pottery (yes she is a potter).

Chloe plans to live with her boyfriend, she doesn't even want me in the same suburb!!!

Yes, they will need some assistance, as her reading, writing & maths aren't great BUT that will minimal ...maybe 4-3 hours a week.

Oh, did I mention she has her ears pierced, she just got a tattoo, she does public speaking & has been interviewed on TV?

Why am I having a big brag session???? Well, cause I can, heehee.

NO, really it is so people can see, Down syndrome is not a jail sentence. It is only our thinking that is the jail sentence.

YES, Chloe will only ever have Down syndrome, that is who she is and I don't ever want her to be anything else.


I have taught my girl to grow wings and fly

And show the world that people with  Down syndrome CAN DO amazing stuff, 
when they are shown.