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Growing up with Down syndrome and facing the bullies

Date Posted: Tuesday, 23 June 2015 09:43
Posted By: Nadia Pocock

Growing up with Down syndrome meant that at times I had to face bullies.  I want people to know that bullying is not normal and it needs to change - Susy.

Susy: Growing up with a disability

When I was born I was so beautiful and special to everyone around me. I was really cute with thick black hair. I was also born with Down syndrome, a disability that means I sometimes have a hard time learning new things, have difficulty speaking, and am smaller than others. 

There was good and bad in my childhood. My father left me and my mum when I was 1 ½, so my mum raised me by herself. I know my father loved me, but he didn’t show any emotion or pay any attention to me, and he wasn’t a large part of my life. My mum is amazing for what she did, and because of it we are best friends. My mum always has my back no matter what.

When I started school, I was in a special education class. I loved learning and even homework, I was the perfect student actually. I also had a group of friends who I spent lunch with including my best friend Crystal. But I didn’t love school because of how the bullies treated me which started when I was 12.

The bullies called me names like retard, loser, and baby. At the time I had a close friend who was in my class, and they would call us both lesbos. Being half Chinese, they would tell me to go back to my country and say other racist comments about my mum. 

People also stared at me, watching every move I made. I hated the eyes on me, and I hated how they treated me so wrongly. 

My friends would watch it happen, but they thought I had to fight for myself and stand up for myself.

In school I had a crush on two boys, but they didn’t notice me, and I didn’t tell them how I felt. I haven’t had a real date yet, but I know one day my dreams will come true and a prince on a white horse will sweep me off my feet.

Even today there are still people in my life who bully me and others around me. There are people who are rude, swear, lose their temper, and gossip about me and others behind our backs. The things they say about me, my friends, and even my mum are nasty and can affect my self-esteem such as calling me fat.

People can also think I look a bit odd to them, or sound odd, or do odd things. I used to talk to myself, and to some people that seemed a bit strange. They can’t see people who have a disability or Down syndrome as being ‘normal’, but we are.

When I catch the bus, people stare at me, and even act shocked because I have Down syndrome. When I am out with my friends, all eyes are on us. But when people do treat us as they would anybody else, it is amazing. Sometimes people talk to me and say, “Good morning Susy’, and ‘wow, you’re so beautiful’. It’s so nice, their smiles are amazing, and I feel blessed. 

When I watch the bullying happening in front of me, it hurts my feelings and makes me very sad. I am just a person with true feelings trying to live my life and be happy. I’ve got so many talents, and a love for art and food. I draw everyday, bake, write recipes, and am even working on writing my own cookbook. I am an independent woman, I am meant to be every day of my beautiful life. I am no different to any of you, and my disability is not who I am.

My heart and my soul is in House with No Steps where I work in the Packaging business and where I get to meet all these lovely people. I am also part of the Employee Committee where we are working to raise awareness of bullying and violence.

I have three girlfriends outside of work who I have known since I was a baby, Josie, Beth and Annalise. This year mum is planning a big party for me for my birthday, it’s mostly a surprise, but I know it will be amazing.  The dream is alive inside of me, and I know the dream to have a wonderful life with everyone around me will come true.

I want people to know bullying is not normal. I feel very deeply against bullying and violence, and the issue is very close to my heart. Something has got to happen to prevent bullying in schools, in the workplace, and in the community.

If you are being bullied, speak up! Tell a parent, or teacher, or advocate, or support worker. You can help to put a stop to it.

For others, I really hope in the future you will think about what I have said, and if you meet someone with a disability, or anyone really, you will treat them with respect.

If you need to talk to someone about bullying or a crisis in your life, please consider calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Check out our other blogs

Online trolls targeting people with a disability 
My story living with a disability: Prader-Willi syndrome 
"Run Forest, Run!": Disability stereotypes in the media

Find out more about disability services at House with No Steps

Comments

Posted By:

Adiel

Date

Friday, 27 May 2016 10:18

Hi Susy,
I'm touched by your story, I was also a victim of bullying in school, so I feel you. You're a very strong woman and of course you are nothing like your disability. I respect every word you have said and I also encourage you to keep fighting against bullying.

Posted By:

Sarah

Date

Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:54

Hi Suzy,
Wow, you know so much about bullying and you are doing such a great job to try and stop it. I think you are very brave. I hope I can buy your cookbook one day and that it has your beautiful smiling face on the front! Hugs and love to you, your friends and your mum!

Posted By:

Kamani

Date

Thursday, 21 April 2016 12:24

Hi Suzy, I loved your story and sent it to my Dad because I thought you are so clever, and good at expressing yourself, and strong and pretty.
I hope your birthday party is great. xx

Posted By:

Tony Sultana

Date

Sunday, 20 March 2016 00:48

Hi Suzy,
I have the privilege of knowing you thru work, I loved reading your story.

I know you will achieve the things you set out to do in your life because you are just that kind of person, and your an inspiration to me. Thank you Suzy. I'll be sure to share your message of bullying is not acceptable.

Tony

Posted By:

laura henschke

Date

Friday, 18 March 2016 16:15

Your are a Star, Suzy. You are coming on top of everything and I admire you for that!!!

Posted By:

Tash

Date

Tuesday, 14 July 2015 11:10

Great blog Susy. Thanks for sharing and being so brave. Your message is really important!

Posted By:

Kiwi Girl

Date

Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:28

Hey Suzy, thanks for sharing your story, we have a lot in common, amazing mum's and a love of baking-I cant wait to buy your recipe book! maybe we can share some favourite recipes.

Posted By:

Kai

Date

Monday, 29 June 2015 13:18

Hi Suzy,
I am also very passionate about ending bullying. It sounds like a dream and maybe it is. but the more people peak out about it and share their experiences the less bullying there will be. Not only in the school yard but in work places as well. It takes a lot of strength and bravery to share your story and stand up to bullies, but its obvious you have more than enough of that :) Keep doing you Suzy!

Posted By:

Es

Date

Friday, 26 June 2015 11:39

Thanks for sharing your story :) it's encouraging to read! I'm sorry for all the hurtful comments ignorant people have made.

Posted By:

Jeanelle

Date

Thursday, 25 June 2015 11:21

You are an outstanding woman Suzy - you are making a difference

Posted By:

Susan

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 19:57

What a beautiful lady you are! How brave of you to share your experiences. It truly does highlight how far we have to go as a society. Until the day that nobody is bullied, you keep fighting for what you believe

Posted By:

Elijah

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 19:32

Inspiring stuff. Don't let the bullies hold you down, always be brave! 👊

Posted By:

You are an inspirational young lady. And.I hope you get to finish your recipe book soon .GOD BLESS.

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 19:08

You are an awesome young lady Susy. May GOD BLESS youu & your Mum.

Posted By:

You are an inspirational young lady. And.I hope you get to finish your recipe book soon .GOD BLESS.

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 19:07

You are an awesome young lady Susy. May GOD BLESS youu & your Mum.

Posted By:

Cr Kylie Fisher

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 18:51

Hi Susy,
I'm so glad you have told your story, it is very brave of people to share stories especially when parts of the story aren't very nice and hurt your feelings.
You are a strong independent, intelligent young lady with a lot to offer the community by standing up to bullies.
Keep calling it out when you see it happen and keep standing up for yourself as this encourages others to do the same.
Susy, you rock! 👍✌️👏 🌟
From Kylie

Posted By:

Leiza

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 14:54

You sound like an amazing young woman. Love that you are creating recipes and doing a cookbook. I love cooking and experimenting with food too. Xo

Posted By:

Kat

Date

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 12:36

Hi Suzy,
Thank you so much for sharing your story - I really enjoyed reading it. You will inspire many people.

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