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Down Syndrome Victoria

Preparing for the future
Visualisation of Success
Down Syndrome Victoria celebrated thirty years of support in 2008. From humble beginnings as a group of like-minded parents coming together to support one another and share information, the organisation now finds itself serving a very different population in a very different environment.
The changes experienced during the previous three decades include the decline of institutionalisation, the introduction of routine cardiac surgery for infants with Down syndrome, the development of pre-natal tests for Down syndrome, the introduction of early childhood intervention, and recognition of the benefits of quality education for people with intellectual disabilities. The health and welfare changes made over the last thirty years have resulted in a change in the profile of the population of people with Down syndrome. The population continues to increase due to the combined influences of a steady birth rate (45 to 60 Victorian babies are born with Down syndrome each year) and the rapidly increasing life expectancy of people with Down syndrome (life expectancy is now approaching that of the rest of the population). The challenges for the first generation and beyond of adults with Down syndrome who will significantly outlive their parents are considerable. When the association was founded thirty years ago, one of its goals was to assist parents find what limited information was available about Down syndrome. Rapidly changing information technology has resulted in an exponential increase in the information available. The role of the association is increasingly to help families filter the information available to identify the most useful and relevant. The limited resources of Down Syndrome Victoria have traditionally been channelled into supporting parents of babies and young children. As a result of the changing profile of people with Down syndrome, Down Syndrome Victoria is now committed to providing support to people with Down syndrome and their families throughout the course of their lives, particularly during difficult transition periods. All of these changes mean that the role and nature of services and support provided by Down Syndrome Victoria need careful evaluation and planning. The Visualisation of success 2008-2013 will be used by staff and committee and to educate new staff, volunteers, members and other stakeholders about our vision of success for Down Syndrome Victoria.

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Voice, Autumn 2009. Down Syndrome Victoria Members Journal

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Down Syndrome Victoria

By 2013 Down Syndrome Victoria will
• Be the leading voice for Victorians with Down syndrome • Have increased the independence and inclusion of people with Down syndrome in the community • Have built on core strengths – peer support, education support and information • Be focused on priorities – information, support, empowering individuals, advocacy and changing attitudes • Have a fit-for-purpose organisational structure • Have quality strategic partners • Have staff, volunteers and management who are passionate about the organisation • Have robust resources
A full version of the Visualisation of Success 2008 – 2013, which elaborates on each of the above points, is available on the website: www.downsyndromevictoria.org.au

Our vision for the future – beyond the five year plan
Down Syndrome Victoria will have been successful when all of the following statements, which underpin our work, are true. A person born today with Down syndrome can expect... • To enjoy a long and healthy life • To attend the same playgroups, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools as other children in their neighbourhood • To receive family and community support, appropriate education and healthcare services to achieve their full potential • To have the opportunity to continue to learn new skills throughout their life • To make meaningful choices about adult life, to attend post-school training and participate in the workforce • To be a full and active participant in the cultural and recreational life of the community • To have the opportunity to develop long-term relationships, find a partner and enjoy intimacy • To enjoy the same rights, responsibilities and privileges that are given to any other citizen • To be treated as an individual, and with dignity and respect

Voice, Autumn 2009. Down Syndrome Victoria Members Journal

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