This Queen’s Birthday, Bridget Sneddon became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to people with learning disability.
Bridget has supported people with an intellectual impairment since the birth of her son, Alex, who has Down syndrome. Alex remains her guide and taught her the importance of advocating for what is right and just. Bridget advocates for removing barriers to enable people with intellectual impairment to live self-directed lives in their communities free from discrimination.
She has national and international experience in delivering and facilitating workshops for families of disabled children. She has held board directorships, led teams, worked in NASC, contributed to new thinking and worked with disabled people and their families over the past 30 years.
Bridget believes that all people have the right to live, love, work, play and be educated in the same spaces and places as their family, neighbours and friends.
For many years she was actively involved in the Auckland Down Syndrome Association and advocated tirelessly for people with Down syndrome to have the same opportunities and experiences as every other. Bridget was also a committee member of the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA). She was NZDSA National Coordinator from 1993 to 2000.
In 2008 Bridget was invited to join the Down Syndrome International Board as a Trustee and Board Member. In 2018 she was elected Vice President, and in 2021 she was elected President of Down Syndrome International.
With a group of parents, Bridget founded the family led capability agency, Family Network NZ. The agency works alongside parents of a family member with intellectual impairment to understand their role in their family member leading an inclusive and self-directed life.