Geelong Advertiser

I say, they’re all in a spin


NEWCASTLE’S Leigh Creighton paused from focusing on his spinning plate to describe himself.

“Well, I have Down syndrome, I have an intellectu­al disability and I do everything,” he said brightly.

“I love my family and love being part of my community.”

Mr Creighton, 36, was participat­ing in a circus skills session at Geelong’s national Having A Say disability conference at Deakin University’s waterfront campus.

He attended Having A Say for the first time last year and had to come back.

“Because I loved it, it was great and I made good friendship­s with other people,” he said. “It’s awesome, it’s having that real connection with everyone.”

More than 1000 people from across Australia, New Zealand and for the first time China have flocked to the three-day conference at Deakin University.

The Victorian Advocacy League for Individual­s with Disability, VALID, stages the Having A Say conference’s annual series of presentati­ons, workshops and performanc­es to empower people and celebrate diversity and achievemen­t.

National Disability Insurance Agency chief executive David Bowen was guest speaker at a dinner and dance at The Pier last night.

Earlier in the day, Federal Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield and Member for Corangamit­e Sarah Henderson had jointly hailed a National Disability Insurance Scheme milestone with more than 10,000 people with disability and their families now on individual­ised support plans in rollout regions.

Ms Henderson said more than 3300 people were already being aided by the scheme in the Barwon trial region.

“It is extremely exciting to see the lives of Australian­s with disability and their families in the Barwon region being transforme­d,” Ms Henderson said. “It is finally giving them the level of support that they need to enjoy full economic and social participat­ion.”

VALID executive officer Kevin Stone hailed the tenth Geelong conference an outstandin­g winner. “It’s just such an inspiratio­nal event,” he said. “Geelong is a fantastic place.”

Mr Creighton said he was making his debut as a plate spinner.

“First time for everything,” he said.

 ?? Picture: MITCH BEAR ?? FIRST TIME: Leigh Creighton has a go at plate spinning at the Have A Say conference at Deakin.
Picture: MITCH BEAR FIRST TIME: Leigh Creighton has a go at plate spinning at the Have A Say conference at Deakin.

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