The cards you’re dealt are not as important as how you play them.”
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am 35 years old and an only child.
When I was born, doctors told my parents to put me away and forget about me. Was that ever a mistake. Currently, I live in London, ON but was born in Mississauga. I love my life, meeting people and being social. I held a special Olympics record in 25m freestyle. In just a few years, I have presented to over 100,000 people in over 65 cities in North America.
I am proud of who I am and what I have done. I have received the City of Toronto, Unsung Heroes Award, presented by the Honourable David C. Onley, Lt. Gov. of Ontario on Dec 3, 2009, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. That award is extra special because December 3rd is also my birthday. I am the recipient of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society Self-Advocate of the Year 2009.
I am the only individual from North America to receive the inaugural United Nations designated “World Down Syndrome Day” Award by Down Syndrome International, in the Voluntary and Professional category, “for outstanding contribution to raising awareness of Down syndrome”. From more than 2800 eligible charities across North America in the prestigious “Show Us Your Goodness” Contest, my charity, Ideal Way was voted among the top 33 finalists to receive funding.
I was officially recognized by Mayor David Miller and Toronto City Council for my volunteer work and received a June Callwood Award in 2013. Why should people with developmental disabilities be included in the community? We should be included in the community because we are just like everyone else
Why did you want to start Ideal Way?
I wanted to start Ideal Way to help people with disabilities. I am a voice for my friends who cannot speak
Do you have other disabilities besides Down syndrome?
The only disability I have is Down syndrome.
What is the best way for the public to end stigma/segregation?
The best way to end stigma is for the public to “see ability in disability”. That’s why Ideal Way works in the area of Education.
“See me first and then my disability. Or just see me.”
For more information about Robert or Ideal Way, you can go to: www.ideal-way.ca
or watch Robert on YouTube