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Down Syndrome NSW
Level 6/410 Church St, North Parramatta
9am-5pm Monday - Thursday
T: 9841 444

Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 in review

It wasn't difficult to find material to make it worthwhile maintaining a blog during 2009 - we published 483 entries, and recorded nearly 20,000 individual visits. Sometimes the content was prosaic but practical (such as announcements about events), occasionally amusing, sometimes newsworthy, and we hope, sometimes thought provoking. It's all here still, but here is a quick look back at just some highlights as is customary at the very end of the year ....

In January, we heard about .... Joe learning to water ski out west, and Grace, like many other 5 and 6 year olds, embarking on the adventure of big school. We learned how Down syndrome might protect against some cancers, and how David and Margaret Hall are supporting children with DS in East Timor.

In February, we mourned the loss of Professor Bill Cohen, celebrated Gerard O'Dwyer's Best Actor Award and Be My Brother's Best Film Award in Tropfest 2009, and the retiring Director-General of the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care called for a funding scheme very like the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In March we noted the launch of In-Control Australia's website, providing information about self-directed funding, noted the 50th anniversary of the discovery of trisomy 21 as the biological mechanism underlying Down syndrome, almost coinciding with World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March.

In April, new Australian Guidelines on Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease were published, and launched in Melbourne by Diana Kerr, a visiting world-expert in this challenging field.

In May, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration announced its long-overdue inquiry into the treatment of people with disabilities, and we learned even more about DS and protection from soft tissue tumours. NSW Rugby League Referees donated their match fees to DS NSW for one weekend (Approximately $12,000).

In June, we heard about Proloquo2go, an iTouch application with great promise, and Aileen Ryan launched her new blog on sign language.

In July, Prof David Patterson's review of Down syndrome research, Molecular Genetic Analysis of Down Syndrome was published, Australia signed a UN Protocol giving a right of appeal on migration decisions; in TV's "Packed to the Rafters", Julie and Dave faced up to prenatal testing for Down syndrome; and DS NSW published its translation of "Welcome to Holland" into Chinese online.

In August, the momentum towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme continued to build, with the release of Shut Out: the experience of people with disabilities and their families in Australia, the report prepared by the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council; we congratulated and thanked the seven competitors in the annual City-to-Surf foot race who ran for Down Syndrome NSW; tributes were paid around the world to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics who died at 88; the NSW Department of Education and Training proposed changes to the support of students with disabilities in NSW state schools; the 10th World Down Syndrome Congress took place in Dublin; Andrew Case mixed it with Rugby players .... and the DS NSW office moved to Harris Park after 28 years in North Parramatta.

In September Comedy is King was a spectacular night of entertainment and fundraising for DS NSW (more pictures are here); Tracie Sammut appeared in "Home and Away"; webcasting of The Specials began in the UK; a Chinese translation of "Living with Down Syndrome" was published by DS NSW.

In October, Buddy Walk - Australia events were held around the country, marking Down Syndrome Awareness Week; Luke and Caitlin Wilson appeared on the big screen in Times Square, New York; a UK research study confirmed that speech disorder in Down's syndrome is not simply due to cognitive delay; and we congratulated Ben and Debbie Katz on their wedding in Sydney.

In November, the Down Syndrome Research Centre at Stanford University published a new study on brain function; Families Weekend 2009 was a great success at Stanwell Tops; the campaign for a National Disability Insurance Scheme has culminated in a an announcement that the Productivity Commission will conduct an enquiry into funding of disability services in Australia; and the UP! Club joined Facebook.

In December, ABC TV broadcast a documentary about the band Rudely Interrupted to coincide with International Day for People with Disability; the release of the government's Disability Investment Group's report lent further weight to the NDIS campaign; Saxon Graham was recognised by Special Olympics Australia for his voluntary and mentoring work; the first Taronga Zoo Dreamnight event was a huge hit; children with Down syndrome were amongst those having fun at the Special Children's Christmas Party; and the Loyal Foundation supported 14 charities, including DS NSW through sponsorship of the Investec Loyal and her celebrity crew in the Sydney-Hobart Boxing Day Yacht Classic (finishing fourth across the line).

Thank you for your interest and support during 2009. 2010 is shaping up to be just as busy and varied, so keep reading, and subscribe to receive an email alert when new entries are posted.

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