Joining in the celebrations for World Down Syndrome Day
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas is today celebrating World Down Syndrome Day.
World Down Syndrome Day, held on 21 March each year, is a United Nations sanctioned day which provides an opportunity for people to learn more about Down syndrome and to recognise the contribution people with Down syndrome make in our society.
Senator McLucas said that today was a great opportunity for people in Australia—and beyond—to take the time to become more aware about Down syndrome.
“World Down Syndrome Day is a time to recognise and celebrate the contributions people with Down syndrome make to our community,” Senator McLucas said.
“One of the biggest barriers that people with disability can face is public perception.
“A dedicated international day helps to broaden understanding of Down syndrome, which affects one in 700-900 births.
Senator McLucas said the Australian Government is working hard to support children with Down Syndrome to get the best start in life.
“We know that investing in early intervention for children with disability before they get to school gives them the best chance of reaching their full potential,” Senator McLucas said.
“Through the Federal Labor Government’s Better Start for Children with Disability initiative, we have helped more than 1000 children with Down syndrome access critical early intervention therapies and services.”
“Under the scheme, children under the age of 7, who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X Syndrome, or moderate to severe vision or hearing impairments are eligible for early intervention funding of up to $12,000.
“And from the beginning of this year, with a $13.4 million investment over five years, we expanded the eligibility criteria to include children diagnosed with Prader Willi, Williams, Angelman, Kabuki, Smith-Magenis, CHARGE, Cornelia de Lange and Cri du Chat syndromes and microcephaly.”
“More than 6,000 children across Australia have registered for Better Start and accessed more than 80,000 early intervention services since the initiative started in July 2011.
Senator McLucas said the Federal Labor Government would continue supporting people with Down syndrome, their families and carers through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
“The Australian Government is committed to supporting people with disability, their families and carers through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“In a truly historic moment, the NDIS Bill has passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous vote, and has this morning passed into law.
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill brings us one step closer to ensuring that all Australians have the support they need to reach their full potential.”
For more information on Better Start, visit www.fahcsia.gov.au/betterstart
For more information on the NDIS visit www.ndis.gov.au