Celebrating the lives of people with Down syndrome
Wednesday 21 March is World Down Syndrome Day, a time when people around the world come together to celebrate the lives and achievements of people with Down syndrome.
Northcott works with customers like Jenna from Moree to provide the support they need to live independent lives, and to see their dreams become reality.
We spoke to Jenna’s mother Wendy to learn more about how Jenna has gained confidence, learnt new skills and had plenty of fun along the way.
“Before starting with Northcott, Jenna had two months when she refused to leave the house. She’s got two older sisters who are quite industrious and Jen was happy just doing whatever the rest of the family was doing. Then it got to the stage where I thought, she should be with younger people doing younger things. I put ads out for individual support, someone aged between 19-35, but I didn’t get any applicants.
It was a stressful time but things turned around when I got onto Northcott and found support workers Jacque and Tanya. Since then Jen’s just blossomed. She has friends her own age and when she sees them in the street, she recognises them.
Jenna goes to the Day Program three days a week. She loves the company of the others in the group. They embrace and include her in whatever they are doing. They make her feel welcome, which makes her feel happy. She even started talking to the group. Normally home is the only place she would talk, because she knows we understand what she needs.
One day the group was having a sausage sizzle in the park and a bird flew down onto the butter. Jenna said “Bird! Bird!”. It was the very first day she spoke in the group and all the Northcott staff were so excited.
Every Friday Jenna goes out with Jacquelyn or Tanya. Jenna loves to go the club on Friday nights. She enjoys the music and dancing and dining.
All the support has been amazing. I never wanted time for myself, but some days can been really tough, and it is nice to have that little break.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future for Jenna. At the moment she is really happy and learning new skills so I want to continue with that.
I just want to know that Jenna’s safe and happy, that’s the main thing.”