Olivia is paving the way for others
Submitted by MyCareSpace on Fri, 11/17/2017 - 01:43
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Doctors' predictions arent always accurate
Olivia Hargroder was born in a time where expectations for the quality of life for children with Down Syndrome were low. Doctors predicted that she would be unable to speak and use a wheelchair her whole life. Today, Olivia is a strong voice and advocate for the inclusion and equality of people with disabilities in society.
Olivia breaks down stereotypes
As a child Olivia underwent both open heart and orthopedic surgery. This allowed her to 'ditch' the wheelchair and walk and then to go on and take up swimming. Her natural drive led her to become a competitive swimmer, and she has won a number of competitions including the Downs Syndrome National Championships in 2015 and 2017. While Olivia has gone on to accomplish many things in her life, her ability to speak up and break down steroetypes might be the most significant of all her achievements.
Speaking at the United Nations
Using her skills as a passionate speaker, Olivia has shared her story in a powerful speech with the UN at the United Nations World Down Syndrome Day in March 2017, advocating for a Downs Syndrome box to be added to the Paralympics.
Olivia speaking at the United Nations World Down Sydrome Day
Through her experiences as a swimmer, Olivia has experienced the challenges that other successful athletes like her need to deal with. At the Paralympics, athletes with Down Syndrome currently can only enter in the "intellectual impairments" category. Since Down Syndrome includes physical impairments as well, these athletes are usually at a disadvantage compared to their more able bodied competitors within the category.
Lifelong Dream of Acting
This Friday, Olivia will graduate along with 31,796 Queensland students. Graduation is just one of many achievements Olivia has accomplished in her life, and this milestone is just the start of many more. She plans to study at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, with the hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dream of acting on Broadway.
All Children are born optimistic
Olivia believes that “All children are born optimistic. But, not all adults are as optimistic about potential of children with special needs."
While we have a long way to go, the hard work and successes of Olivia and others has shown that Olivia and others like her, are as capable as anyone else of doing great things.
With more dynamic, young people like Olivia around, we see how society can become much more inclusive and open to the hopes and dreams of children of all abilities.
You can help Olivia in her effort to add Down Syndrome as a category at the Paralympics by joining her Facebook page and signing and sharing her petition
Information sourced from The Brisbane Times