Kiwis with Down syndrome want to change society's perceptions about them.
In a New Zealand Down Syndrome Association video, 14 Kiwis share the benefits they bring to the community by volunteering, mentoring youth, public speaking, filmmaking, being fluent in te reo and teaching kapa haka.
Abigail talks about she got a job after completing a certificate in employment and community skills at Unitec. Edward won a gold medal for swimming in the Special Olympics.
Association national executive officer Zandra Vaccarino said the video, released to mark World Down Syndrome Day, was addressed to health professionals as they have a crucial role to play in correcting myths and have the power to change society's perceptions and narratives about Down syndrome while also providing valuable and appropriate health care and support.
"Dear Health Professionals, we're here to share a message. We're all different and unique, we all have value, and everyone has the right to live a happy and healthy life," Vaccarino said.
In New Zealand, one baby in 1000 is born with Down syndrome, or about one to two babies a week. Down syndrome happens when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. The extra genetic material changes the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
IHC director of advocacy Trish Grant said all people needed to be celebrated and valued equally.
"Things that make life good for us all are also critical for to people with Down syndrome. Family support, a happy upbringing, access to education and support to achieve, then jobs and other activities enable people with intellectual disabilities to contribute to their communities."
People with Down syndrome have a life expectancy 20 years shorter than the average. Nearly 20 per cent of children with a disability live in families with an income of less than $30,000 a year, the IHC reported.
Grant wanted health professionals to better respond to the poor health outcomes for people with Down syndrome.
The awareness video is part of the international #WhatIBringToMyCommunity campaign, led by World Down Syndrome Day.
The aim of #WhatIBringToMyCommunity is to empower people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community.