Learning From Each Other

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Today in ‘Time of Our Lives’ we speak to Laurel, sibling of a brother living with Down syndrome. Sister to Xavier, 14, Laurel, 17, believes that through the inclusion and opportunities provided by Down Syndrome Queensland (DSQ), individuals like Xavier can lead a fulfilling life, contributing to society and giving back to the community.

On reflection of growing up with a brother with Down syndrome, Laurel says “it was certainly difficult at times, but I wouldn’t change him for the world. I’m so grateful for the person I have become as a result of being Xavier’s sister and want only the best for my little brother”. Laurel is currently completing her final year of high school as well as a university course at The University of Queensland, where she plans to study chemistry and physics next year. While she agrees that growing up alongside a sibling with Down syndrome has been a ‘rollercoaster’, she attributes her emotional intelligence and genuine compassion to Xavier. “I think that growing up with Xavier has required me to become more mature than other teenagers of my age, which has in turn enabled me to engage with my peers at university and seek opportunities not traditionally offered to high school students,’ with Laurel having already completed multiple online university level science courses before finishing Year 12. 

Regarding Down Syndrome Queensland, Laurel is a keen volunteer who enjoys being involved at events and aids in fundraising activities. Laurel is proud to be part of DSQ’s sibling support network, where she assisted with DSQ’s first Sibling Connection Session last October, speaking with other siblings of people with Down syndrome to discuss shared experiences. Laurel feels her involvement is ‘extremely rewarding,’ and she is looking forward to more opportunities to assist in the future.

Laurel also has a passion for fitness and supporting Down Syndrome Queensland, with one of her personal fundraising challenges involving roping her father in (literally) to the 10km Bridge to Brisbane as a three-legged race with an egg and spoon.   She has also conducted a cupcake decorating class for young people with Down syndrome at her local bakery for World Down Syndrome Day.

Laurel believes that the work Down Syndrome Queensland does for the community is ‘invaluable’, stating that she is incredibly grateful for the support they have offered Xavier throughout the years.

We are extremely proud of Laurel for all her efforts in supporting individuals such as her brother. We thank her for her time today and wish her all the best for her final year of schooling and into the future.

For more information on how Down Syndrome Queensland can support you contact (07) 3356 6655, email office@downsyndromeqld.org.au or visit our website https://www.downsyndrome.org.au/qld/

#downsyndrome #inclusion #Community