Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

When Shauna was born I had no idea of what the future would hold, but I promised I would give her every opportunity.

Shauna was deemed a health and safety risk at school…

“Shauna was deemed a health and safety risk at school and not allowed to swim with her peers…eventually we found a club that could see the swimmer before they saw the Down’s Syndrome.”

What Shauna and her family didn’t know, is that this was the start of an incredible journey that would see her travelling across the world and appearing on a national soap opera.

Shauna is 27, from Liverpool and she loves swimming, dancing and acting. She has Down’s Syndrome and is determined show those who discriminated against her just how wrong they were.

Swimming in the UK and beyond

It took one special, mainstream swimming club to agree to support Shauna and unleash her talent. They could see her potential and, in return for their coaching, she has taught the other children there all about difference and inclusion.

She fast showed them that she is an exceptional swimmer and has represented Great Britain at the World Aquatics, and then again in 2014 in LA. Over these two events she won 3 silver and 3 bronze medals.

Shauna also competes all over the UK and at Down’s Syndrome and Special Olympic events where she has won hundreds of medals.

In 2017 the Liverpool Echo voted her Sports Personality of the Year.

A natural performer

Shauna has been performing since she was 4 years’ old. After a recent, successful, audition with Lime Pictures she’s waiting for the perfect role for her. Until that comes you might spot her working as a regular extra on national soap opera, Hollyoaks.

By performing and training at mainstream theatre groups, and alongside people who don’t have disabilities, she’s truly challenging stigma by showing her talent and abilities in remembering lines and tackling difficult issues.

She also brings these skills to talks and presentations. She regularly tells others about her work and all she’s overcome. Most recently she spoke at Liverpool Women’s Hospital about her life and hopes to inspire medical professionals to be more positive about Down’s Syndrome.

Some words from her mum

Shauna’s nomination for the Leaders’ List 2019 was so heartfelt and bursting with pride, we’d like to share some of her mum’s words with you…

“When Shauna was born I had no idea of what the future would hold, but I promised I would give her every opportunity.

“Well she has grabbed that with both hands and achieved far more than some of her peers (with no disability) can ever hope to achieve.

“I am so proud that she is able to speak to people about what she does and is never fazed by the number in the audience.

“I think she is one amazing young woman who has made me proud over and over again and I know she will keep doing so.

“By telling her story, hopefully people will see that having Down’s Syndrome is nothing to be afraid of.”


How does it feel to be a Learning Disability and Autism Leader?

“Winning makes me really happy.”


“I feel really connected to this story and identified strongly with her. I’m proud of her determination. – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge

“Shauna has done so much more than most people, that her achievements are all the more admirable because of her Down’s Syndrome. Shauna is obviously very well received by everyone who meets her and in demand for her wonderful talks and performances. Keep up the good work Shauna – you are a great role model for us all!” – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge


In the press

Get in touch about this story

If you’ve got any question for us about this story, or you’d like more information then please do get in touch.