People with disabilities are people first

14 February 2014

The Special Olympics NSW (SONSW) Performance Group would like the public to see people with disabilities as a person first rather than focus on their intellectual disabilities.

That is the message they are trying to spread as they perform in venues all over NSW, most recently at the opening ceremony of the 2013 Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games held last December in Newcastle. The games were attended by 2,500 athletes from 29 different countries and were broadcast to over three million people.

“Perceptions and attitudes matter. By engaging directly with the local community, we can show the public what people with an intellectual disability can do rather than what they can’t,” said Fran Eustace, National Manager Fundraising and Events for Special Olympics Australia.

The SONSW Performance Group performs more than 30 times a year at different events, schools, corporate functions or aged-care facilities. Their aim is to raise awareness of what it means to have an intellectual disability and working towards challenging stereotypes and changing attitudes.

To help achieve their goal in spreading their message, Canterbury League Club donated $5,000 which went towards the cost of new costumes and transport to and from performances in the lead up to the Asia Pacific Games.

"What the SONSW Performance Group is doing is very commendable because they want to create a positive change in society and encourage further understanding that people with disabilities are just people with different abilities,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.