Scoop News 19 March 2014
Human Rights Disability Commissioner, Paul Gibson, challenged all New Zealanders to celebrate and embrace diversity on World Down Syndrome Day.
Speaking at the 2014 Down Syndrome Day T4T and the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA) National Achievements Awards Ceremony at Parliament last night, Paul Gibson says this year’s theme about health, wellbeing and achievement highlights issues and acknowledges barriers people with Down Syndrome face daily just trying to access healthcare on an equal basis as everyone else.
“It is time for an effective healthcare programme to be implemented immediately,” he says.
“People with Down Syndrome often face challenges with respect to healthcare including being denied access to healthcare, incorrect diagnosis and refusing to allow patients to participate in decisions about their treatment plans.”
Despite the many barriers, people with Down Syndrome can and do live successful and happy lives.
This World Down Syndrome Day, three achievers have been acknowledged for their outstanding accomplishments. Last night they were recognised at the awards ceremony. Chris Whitmore, from New Plymouth was recognised for his work as a volunteer rest-home worker and successful entrepreneur. He’s developed and markets the dog food brand Chris’ Crunchy Crackers. Katrina Sneath, of Onslow College in Wellington, an accomplished public speaker, is near completion of NCEA Level 2 and her study includes challenging subjects such as calculus. Special Olympian Christopher Tavita, of Dunedin, has won medals at the Special Olympics including a much coveted gold. He has also achieved a blue belt in mainstream karate and importantly, was a strong support for his recently deceased father.