Wednesday, 6 August 2014

DS Australia queries reality TV series

Down Syndrome Australia has issued a statement about the ABC TV series 'The Dreamhouse', that debuts tomorrow night (Thursday 7th August):

The Dreamhouse; will it make a difference in real life?

Down Syndrome Australia (DSA) welcomes the focus on the daily lives of people with Down syndrome and the opportunity to discuss the issue of the significant unmet need for housing and support in the community for people with intellectual disability that ‘The Dreamhouse’, produced by Artemis International and broadcast nationally on ABC TV, provides.

Down Syndrome Australia acknowledges the good intentions of the The Dreamhouse, but regretfully finds the premise of the program quite discouraging. The ‘dream’ setting obscures the fact that the young people are living in a group home, a living arrangement we regard as outdated and paternalistic.

“Down Syndrome Australia supports a contemporary self-directed approach to community living for people with Down syndrome. This means that everyone with Down syndrome should be able to individually choose where they live and with whom they live according to his or her own life preferences,” said Down Syndrome Australia CEO Catherine McAlpine.
“However, the reality is that many people with Down syndrome continue to live at home both because of the lack of resources and lack of opportunity to pursue an alternative living arrangement.”
McAlpine says that Down Syndrome Australia is concerned that The Dreamhouse will reinforce lingering attitudes that act to segregate people with intellectual disability from the rest of the community in group homes, rather than showing a range of contemporary living options that people with intellectual disability can and do choose in the current day.
Down Syndrome Australia wishes the young people with intellectual disability showcased in the program every success in working towards their own independence and sincerely hopes that The Dreamhouse impacts in a positive way on the lack of housing options available to people with Down syndrome. DSA also hopes that this television program broadens public perceptions of the potential of young adults with Down syndrome and their families rather than reinforcing existing stereotypes.
Neither Down Syndrome Australia nor Down Syndrome WA are in any way associated with The Dreamhouse.
Current, up-to-date and evidence based information on people with Down syndrome, and examples of lived experiences can be found at

August 5, 2014

No comments: