Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Global celebration of people with Down syndrome

Tomorrow is World Down Syndrome Day, an opportunity for people across Australia to take the time to become more aware about Down syndrome.

“World Down Syndrome Day provides Australians with a chance to recognise and celebrate the contribution people with Down syndrome make to our community,” Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas said.

It is the first year that World Down Syndrome Day is a United Nations Observance, following the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly in New York in December 2011. The Australian Government co-sponsored the resolution.

“A dedicated international day provides greater opportunity to broaden understanding of this genetic condition which affects about one in 800 births worldwide.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting people with disability including young people who need the right support and care to get ahead in their early years.

Senator McLucas said World Down Syndrome Day is a great opportunity for parents of young children with Down syndrome to sign up for new Australian Government early intervention services.

“We know that investing in early intervention for children with disabilities before they get to school gives them the best chance of reaching their full potential.

“That’s why we’re investing $147 million to provide access to early intervention services and therapies through the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative.

More than 3,500 children have registered for initiative since it began in July 2011.

Children under the age of 6 years, who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome, or moderate to severe vision or hearing impairments can access up to $12,000 to spend on early intervention services and therapies of their choice.

Better Start gives parents choice about the early intervention services they access to support their child’s development.

Better Start will also provide about 20,000 children with these disabilities, under the age of 15 years, access to new Medicare services and allied health treatment.

“It’s important that we live in an inclusive society where every Australian is equal and where people with disability have the opportunities to reach their full potential. With the right support and greater community awareness and inclusion, we can make a difference.”

For more information on Better Start, visit