Sue Wilson (Bennett)

1976 Collegian


Mum was a pre-school teacher and I loved going into work with her. I wanted to be an early childhood teacher, too.

At school I believed I was pretty average and had to work hard.

After my first year at university I was offered an academic scholarship. That's when I learned that average plus hard work equalled academic success.

I have taught in the classroom on and off (mostly on) for 30 years. I chose to stay in the classroom with what I believed I was good at: education and believing in young children.

In my first year I was sent to the country. There was a totally blind child and another with cerebral palsy in my class. At first I felt overwhelmed, but it sparked my interest in children with disabilities.

I realised having these kids in mainstream classrooms was better for them because then they could model mainstream behaviour.

I married Greg in 1986 and we had three children, Michael, now 21, Daniel, 18, and Anna, 15 (who's currently at MLC).

It's funny the way life pans out. I was drawn to kids with disabilities and I ended up having one of my own.

Daniel was born with Down Syndrome. It was a shock, but I thought ok, I can do this. Before I'd even left the hospital, in my mind I'd got him to high school. I knew he would learn to read and write.

We were living in Holland and the school system was behind when it came to integrating children with disabilities, so when he was five we came home.

I immediately joined Down Syndrome WA. It was an era of tremendous growth. I chaired the organisation and became the longest serving voluntary board member. I aspired to "make every day a better day".

I believe we have done a good job in dispelling some of the myths about Down Syndrome.

Daniel is doing great. I want for him what I want for all my children – to be happy with who they are and to be the best they can be.

Doing small things can help to change lives. Just chip away and live your dreams.

On MLC: Favourite memories include eating lunch on the Great Court surrounded by friends, and the opportunities to play more sport than I could have imagined.