The power of a big sister

Note: In the UK, the term of ‘Learning disability’ is used instead of ‘Intellectual disability’.

Sibling power helps take on the bullies

Alex Ross   
sister

Jemima and Will Browning

A BROTHER and sister have been appointed to a prestigious young person’s committee to help break down barriers for people with a learning disability.

Jemima Browning, 16, has joined her brother, William, who has Down’s Syndrome, on the Special Olympics Europe Inclusive Youth Activation Committee (iYAC).

Both have been commended for their work as part of the Play Unified campaign – run by Special Olympics GB and Youth Sport Trust -which aims to break down barriers for those with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Tadcaster Grammar School pupil Jemima has set up a swimming club – Tadcaster Stingrays – for young disabled people and recently received a Diana Legacy Award, set up by Princes William and Harry in memory of their mother on the twentieth anniversary year of her death.

Jemima said: “I am extremely passionate about disability sport and feel that everyone should have the same opportunities to take part and succeed. From personal experience I have seen how people sometimes struggle to see past a person’s disability, as is the case with my brother.

“People don’t see Will first, they see his Down’s Syndrome and perceive he is ‘different’.

“This has led to him often feeling excluded, isolated and unhappy.

“I have set up an inclusive committee in my school with other students where we decide together what we can do in school to change attitudes towards people with ID and ensure that we organise activities that appeal to all of us, such as dance and team sports. Through this work, it has led to a truly memorable moment for me, with my brother and I representing Great Britain on the Special Olympics European Youth Committee; being the voice of young people across Europe and influencing international policy.”

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