Camp pro­motes op­por­tu­nity in dis­abil­ity

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Tamra Carr

A woman from Wag­grakine with a chro­mo­some ab­nor­mal­ity has ex­posed a se­ries of mis­con­cep­tions peo­ple have about her con­di­tion.

Re­cent Na­gle Catholic Col­lege grad­u­ate Kather­ine Gar­raway has a chro­mo­some 15q du­pli­ca­tion which has caused her de­vel­op­men­tal dif­fi­cul­ties.

The 18-year-old said this had led peo­ple to make neg­a­tive as­sump­tions about her and oth­ers who had her con­di­tion.

“Peo­ple will think we’re not that smart — they al­ways as­sume that,” Ms Gar­raway said.

“Peo­ple will as­sume we don’t have talents, and they’re al­ways sur­prised when they find out we can ac­tu­ally do things.

“A lot of peo­ple think we’re a li­a­bil­ity and they won’t give us a chance.”

Ms Gar­raway was re­cently spon­sored by the Ro­tary Club of Ger­ald­ton to at­tend a week-long camp in Perth for young adults liv­ing with dis­abil­ity.

At the Perth-based Camp Op­por­tu­nity, Ms Gar­raway par­tic­i­pated in ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing archery, ab­seil­ing, swim­ming and a tal­ent com­pe­ti­tion.

She said it was a chal­leng­ing and ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and helped demon­strate the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“When you’re born with or de­velop a dis­abil­ity, you move onto a spec­trum of how well you can func­tion, but it’s no dif­fer­ent to any­one else hav­ing their own strengths and weak­nesses,” she said. “We’re just as ca­pa­ble as any­one else.”

Camp Op­por­tu­nity is run by a com­mit­tee of Ro­tar­i­ans, vol­un­teers and an on-site nurse.

Pic­ture: Tamra Carr

Kather­ine Gar­raway says about 15 peo­ple at­tended Camp Op­por­tu­nity and she eas­ily made friends with every­one.

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