Community & Inclusion
Born with Down syndrome and other conditions that limits his ability to speak, it wasn’t until Peter was nearly 30 that he was introduced to Facilitated Communication (FC) – a system that finally gave him a way to communicate and share his view of his world and experiences. Since being introduced to facilitated communication and the unwavering support of his family, Peter has shared the good and the bad and expressed them through art and writing. He has taken his experiences and journey and turned it into a quest of encouraging, inspiring and empowering others to find their voices and share their stories.
Peter knows a thing or two about what it is like to be treated differently, to be excluded, judged and worse still, Peter knows what it is like to have been abused and not have a way to tell those around you. Because of his past experiences of being isolated and not having a way to share his voice, Peter is passionate about the importance of having community connections and opportunities to express who you are and what you have to offer.
Having the ability to express who you are and how you feel is a basic human right, human need and I believe self-expression only happens when you feel safe, when you feel a sense of belonging. One of my passions is to educate people about the importance of community connections, inclusion and diversity in order to minimise isolation and marginalisation of our most vulnerable. Please know that although I have Down Syndrome it does not mean I am only referring to people with disabilities as being vulnerable. There are many people with full verbal and physical abilities who still have not found a way to share their voice their story. I believe that being connected to your community assits with empowering you to find your voice and share your story. Community connections = belonging, when you feel connected to something, someone, this to me is what true inclusion is
“I have recently been connected to various amazing people within the Fraser Coast community, particularly that of the artistic community. I am both overwhelmed and delighted with the level of support and passion extended to me and the opportunities that are now possible. Thanks to the support of many, including the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery team, I will take part in the upcoming exhibition in September along with a unique public speaking event that is going to be quite the evening. My goodness what can I say except that Hervey Bay you are inclusion in action and thank you, I can’t wait to meet more of your community.”