To read on New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability website:
A chat with our Chairperson on World Down Syndrome Day
What is life like for you at 50 MJ?
My life is as busy as ever! I may have turned 50 but I don’t feel it. By saying this I mean I haven’t changed, I’m still young at heart.
There are so many things in my life that I never expected to do. Never even dreamt I would achieve. I’ve been part of NSW CID for a long time but I never dreamt I would be the Chairperson one day. This is my second term and I’m still really happy about that.
Working as self-advocate has been the biggest thing. And look at where it has led me, where I am today. I look back on lots of things I have achieved. For example I spoke as a key speaker at a large conference in Melbourne recently, in front of a really big crowd. It was the 2016 ASID [Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability] Conference. I spoke about what medical and research people need to know to work properly with people with intellectual disability and about how we do our work at CID.
What would you tell young people with Down Syndrome?
I would encourage them to stay true to their dreams and goals and believe in themselves. This will help them as they get older. If they believe in themselves, they will have to confidence to follow their own paths and do what they want to do.
What would you tell the parents of a person with Down Syndrome?
People worry when they have a child with Down Syndrome. But that child is still going to go off and have a good life. It’s the same thing that every parent wishes for their child.
What do you want to do next?
One of the main things is I really want to keep working in advocacy. It’s really important to me. There a lots of skills I have built up over the years, and I want to keep using them. I don’t want to lose that.
I would like to do more public speaking, I want to get better at that, as there is always room for improvement. If you don’t practice you lose the art of connecting with people. And that’s a big part of being a self-advocate.
I also want to help young up and coming advocates to get more skills, and build their confidence.
Do you have hobbies?
I really love reading and listening to music. It’s also important to keep your mind going and be active. My fitness is part of that.
Do you have any holiday plans?
Nothing specific, but I’d like to just go somewhere and unpack and stay for a week, not move around too much. Read some books, go for a swim. Probably because I’m so busy the rest of the time!
Thanks for speaking with us Michael – so glad you are part of the CID Team.