You know those kind of people who walk into a room and just fill it with light? Well that’s Maddie. She’s bubbly, warm and full of positivity. Maddie’s energy and zest for life is truly infectious. She may be living with Down Syndrome, but Maddie lives a life full of happiness and an abundance of love.
Living with Down Syndrome
Let’s talk about Down Syndrome, the genetic condition that affects one in every 1,100 babies born in Australia.
Down Syndrome occurs when when abnormal cell division causes an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. This commonly causes learning and development delays, along with some health problems.
Thanks to advances in technology, medicine, community supports and changing social attitudes, people living with Down Syndrome are typically no longer faced with the restrictions on life that were experienced in the past. If given access to the right supports, people living with Down Syndrome can live long, healthy and fulfilling lives.
World Down Syndrome Day 2021
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. On this day we join the global voice to advocate for the rights, inclusion and well being of people living with Down Syndrome. On this day we shine light on the families, support workers and health professionals who make it possible for people living with Down Syndrome to live rich and fulfilling lives.
So here’s the story of the radiant Maddie. What a treat it was to chat to her proud parents, Diana and Michael, to hear about life through the eyes of their 34 daughter living with Down Syndrome.
Maddie lives life to the full. Her family describe her as an energetic, friendly, happy and bubbly soul. Her condition means she has some speech impairment and moderate physical challenges. Coordination is not her forte, but Maddie embraces physical activity (and everything, for that matter) with tenacity.
Maddie’s interests are diverse. She responded to music from a very early age and music and dance is still at the centre of her life—listening at breakfast time and in the car. Hits from the 60s and 70s are her jam. She has an impressive collection of DVDs which she watches in her leisure hours. Abba has always been a favourite. There is so much that brings her joy in life, but above all, it’s the people she is surrounded by. With two nephews, one niece and a large and loving extended family, she is surrounded by people who love and adore her.
Maddie is with Instacare
Maddie and her family engage Instacare for her NDIS Plan Management and Support Coordination. These include speech pathology and involvement in Melbourne’s Bayley House program. Bayley House is where she creates, learns and connects with community, assisting her to live a full and engaged life. She participates in the Bayley House Christmas Concert every year. Maddie is fortunate to have such an incredible support system.
Parenting a child with down syndrome can be challenging, but Diana and Michael had not one complaint or displeasure of the cards they have been dealt. Michael proudly describes Maddie having “never having a mean thought in her life”. You know what they say about us being the product of our environment? Well—exhibit A. With such supportive, and loving parents, who have allowed Maddie to live such a joy filled life—it’s no wonder Maddie is such a beautiful soul.
Diana describes the real blessing being the fact that Maddie is blissfully unaware of the challenges she is faced with. In her eyes—life is truly wonderful. Maddie’s optimism is something we can all learn from. It’s an honest reminder to show gratitude for what we have, and to focus on the things we are capable of. We are reminded to seek out joy in every moment, and to live life to the absolute fullest.
We thank you, Diana and Michael, for opening up and shining some light on Maddie’s life. But most of all we thank you for so gracefully showing us a life where achievement, pride, and love—rather than disability—define your existence.