Story by Sherrie Price
Hello from Mackay, Queensland.
I am Sherrie Price. I’m 28 years old and I have Down syndrome. I live in Mackay, North Queensland in a house with my friend Sarah, her dog Sunny and my pet bird Pretty. I have been living in shared housing for nearly four years and love being as independent as I can be. We have support workers who help us with grocery shopping, making our weekly plan, preparing our meals and supervising our general living. I really enjoy cooking and planning healthy meals.
I have two sisters and one brother. My oldest sister lives in Brisbane with her husband and two little daughters and my brother lives in Brisbane too. My other sister lives close by and I get to visit her every week and help to look after my new nephew. My parents live only half an hour out of town. They help me organise my activities and my life. My family is very important to me. I am the youngest. I have a boyfriend, Josh. We have been going out for nearly two years.
I was born and did all my schooling at Moranbah. I had lots of jobs there – Subway, Rockmans, Mitre 10, and more. I moved near Mackay with my parents nearly seven years ago.
In the quiet corner I like to read to the children and give them cuddles when they need it. I love spending time with the babies and children.
I like to go to gym and exercise. Sarah and I both go to karate at the PCYC on Monday nights. I have my blue belt with a green tip and Sarah has her green belt with brown tip and we often practice together at home. Sarah is really good at karate! We take Sunny for a walk most mornings and I go to gym with my support worker to do a program that the gym has put together for me. We also do lots of walking.
I have been going to TAFE for five years with support, one day a week. I completed my Cert 1, and am almost finished my Certificate 2 in Information, Digital Media and Technology. I am going to start my Childcare Certificate when I graduate this course.
One of my support workers is involved in lots of community groups and I have been able to help her do some volunteering. We visited a nursing home to do craft, helped at a dog shelter and community visiting, and help with Neighbourhood Watch activities, and other things.
I attend a social group on Thursday nights – we go out to dinner, or movies or bowling. The service that organises this also runs trips to places like Airlie Beach, Gold Coast. I even went to the USA for two weeks with them a few years ago!
I have speech therapy every fortnight and a speech therapy assistant spends two sessions per week with me too.
I also attend Our Mates Place. It has been set up by a service for people with disabilities 14 years and above. They have two sessions a day and different things to learn and do – photography, computers, art and craft, exercise and fitness, beauty and hygiene, karaoke, to name a few. I do art and craft, then games and competitions. It’s great to meet my old friends there and make new friends.
Speech therapy was done on Zoom, and Facetime. I had to Facetime my family and friends more because I couldn’t visit them but I have been able to see them all again now. Our Mates Place was closed for quite a while and then opened with small numbers of people. It’s almost back to normal now. TAFE was closed too, but soon I was able to do it online.
I have travelled to Europe and through the Northern Territory and Western Australia with my parents. I love visiting different places.
I am very lucky to have so much support from my family and friends, and wonderful services to help me live my life as I choose, and as independently as I can.