2022 Alderson Awards: Congratulations to our nominees and winners!

2022 Alderson Awards: Congratulations to our nominees and winners! thumbnail.

On Friday 6 May, members of ACTDSA and the community got together for a formal gala dinner to celebrate the achievements of people with Down syndrome.

It was a good night for all. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us.

Thank you to Minister Emma Davidson (Minister for Disability, Justice Health, Mental Health, Veterans and Seniors; Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services) for coming and speaking at the event.

Thank you to Jeremy Hanson CSC (Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) for coming to the night.

There were performances by Xtreme Stars that got everyone clapping and dancing. Thank you to Xtreme Stars for your fantastic performing.


Congratulations to all of our nominees for the Alderson Family Award:

  • Mark Bathgate enthusiastically participates in music classes including singing, dancing and African drums. Mark is becoming more confident in everyday activities.

  • Ariana Byrne started her first job in childcare in March 2022 after developing her employment skills for the past two years.

  • Sam Chapman has followed his passion for photography and has had his photography work displayed in 6 exhibitions.

  • Henry Cohen has learned to walk. Henry now walks himself into school and is able to play with his friends more independently.

  • Kura Flack-Kone catches the bus to and from school completely independently.

  • Jamie Garner has begun reading independently and is working hard on his writing.

  • Max Grinsell-Jones has obtained his learners permit and is learning to drive. So far he has completed 17 competencies.

  • Joel Herbert has secured long-term paid employment with his very own business. Joel now works for himself delivering gift parcels on behalf of LJ Hooker in Gungahlin.

  • Violet Paterson “rocked her heart surgery” in December of 2021. She is now thriving and can resume smashing her goals.

  • Molly Johns has been working hard learning how to ride. Her enthusiasm and skill for riding continue to improve every day

  • Zara Mann has been working on her strength and conditioning since 2017. She is now able to squat with 55kg.

  • Rachel Mason-Cox has learned new skills while being a valuable, contributing team-mate. Rachel was recognised by staff on a rock-climbing course for being a great team member.

  • Nathan Murray has learned to read using both phonics and sight words.

  • Taryn Sbirakos has received his yellow belt in Jujitzu. He achieved the belt at the same time as his peers with no added time or coaching.

  • Christian Perryman has demonstrated strength and resilience in his education. Christian shows every day that he values education and academic success.

  • Nick Wade and his family have been publishing YouTube videos. Nick is inspiring others and lifting the stigma surrounding people with Down syndrome through his fun and creative videos.

  • Charlotte Bailey has grown in her confidence with public speaking over the last 12 months. She has taken on new responsibilities as the ACT Employment Ambassador and has stepped up to the role.

  • Angela Lee “always shows the most incredible kindness to me, my husband and daughter and we appreciate the effort she puts in and the kind words when we need them.”

  • Lauren Murray is the ACT representative for the Down Syndrome Advisory Network, sits on the ACTDSA Committee and has obtained her First Aid Qualifications. 

Well done to all! 

Taryn Sbirakos took home the Alderson Award for the 13-17 category for his achievements in Jujitzu. Congratulations, Taryn!










Joel Herbert took home the Alderson Award in the 18+ category for his achievements in securing long term paid employment through his own business. Congratulations, Joel!








Congratulations to all of our nominees for the Kate Louise Alderson Award, which recognises members of the community who have contributed to the community and/or people with Down syndrome:

  • Deepa Waila is a teacher at Red Hill Primary School and works extensively to provide learning support assistance to school aged children with intellectual disabilities and to help them achieve their education goals through inclusive practices.

  • Eastlakes Football Club have been providing employment to Charlotte since November 2020 and have been supportive of training and development since day one. The Hr Manager, Venue Manager, Chef and Restaurant Supervisors are always willing to spend time with Charlotte showing her new tasks and encourage her to be herself.

  • Queanbeyan Leagues Club began employing Chris McMurray in July of 2021. Keeping his job open to his return after the 2021 COVID-19 lockdown, Chris has now been trained across the Bar, Bistro and Café.

  • Stella Bella Childcare provides support for families with seriously ill children. They provide a fun, inclusive and safe kindergarten that educates children who may not get those opportunities elsewhere. Stella Bella also provides employment opportunities for people with a disability.

  • Mt Stromlo High School has been transitioning students with additional learning needs from separate Learning Support Units into Mainstream Classes.

  • Goulburn Workers Club employed Bradley after he left school in 2012 and have been patient and encouraging of Bradley learning new skills. Goulburn Workers Club have accommodated Bradley’s needs with professionalism and he has developed great working relationships with teammates.

  • Dr Vanessa de Kauwe provides meaningful education to adults with disabilities and extends the support to families and carers. Dr V empowers both the person with disability and their support network to recognise their abilities and strengths. She sees value in the contribution of each person and teaches them how to build their own skills and ability to contribute in a meaningful way to the community.


Dr Vanessa de Kauwe took home the Kate Louise Alderson Award for contribution to the community. Congratulations, Dr V!









Mt Stromlo High School took home a special commendation in education for their efforts to include people with disabilities in mainstream education. Congratulations!