March is Trisomy Awareness Month

Trisomy comes in many forms, from the more commonly known Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), to the less well-known Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13) and Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18).

In fact, as a genetic condition involving the adaptation of an extra chromosome……. a trisomy can come in many different shapes and sizes!

Speaking of shapes and sizes… a trisomy condition can influence subtle differences in a person’s body shape, height and weight. In a person with Down’s Syndrome, for example, individuals commonly have a shorter and thicker neckline and stature.

Award-winning Adelaide fashion designer, disability advocate (and mother of a teenager with Down Syndrome), and published author, Nerida Lamprill, knows all about the challenges faced in accommodating different body shapes – and how to make the most of it.

“Personal presentation and social skills are a vital key to social inclusion for differently abled people.”

“The saying goes, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ but the reality is, we all do,” she says.

“We make judgements and assumptions about people and their abilities based on our first impressions and this affects social inclusion.”

This connection between presentation and perception provided the impetus for Nerida to author her first book, ‘Love My Shape’, which provides guidance for girls and boys with a disability on how to dress to best suit their shape.

“Educating people with different abilities in grooming and personal presentation should not be overlooked as superficial. It leads to greater community acceptance and inclusion and opens opportunities, “she says.

“There is a huge body of research, with multiple studies done on perception, judgement and stereotyping. One can’t underestimate the role clothing and personal presentation plays on first impressions,” she continues.

“As the ‘Halo-effect’ findings show, positive impressions influence the perception of a person’s capabilities, leadership qualities, employability and, ultimately, if they will be accepted and included.”

With the success of her first book, Nerida started her own business, Success Foundations, and has since been in demand as a speaker, presenter and facilitator of training programs.

“Success Foundations started facilitating personal presentation and social skills workshops many years ago for various organisations for differently abled people and those with mental health concerns,” she says.

Topics covered in workshop programs include:

• Dressing for your body shape
• Know your personal colours
• Dressing for job interviews
• Hair styling to suit facial shape
• Skin Care
• Make up and nail care

Nerida has found that her training programs have been embraced by participants, both here and overseas, who report positive outcomes. Such has been the success of the program, that this has since extended to courses in social etiquette, table manners, networking and developing social skills.

“We saw a noticeable increase in participant’s self-esteem and interaction after the workshops and their therapists saw improved levels of self-determination and independence in their clients,” says Nerida.

“Participants expressed that they felt more confident as people would comment on how good they looked.”

As Nerida knows, confidence and self-love is particularly important in young people.

“I’ve received remarkable feedback after running workshops in conjunction with the Down Syndrome Society for teenagers,” says Nerida

“Parents noted improved levels of self-acceptance, self-confidence in other areas, and improved participation in personal care after the course,” she says.

“As one parent said, it gave her teenager confidence to be proud of being a woman with Down Syndrome and to embrace her uniqueness.”

Nerida continues to be a passionate advocate for those who are differently-abled, and recently returning to formal study this year to complete her Bachelor of Developmental Education (Disability).

Further Information

To express your interest in future workshops in Adelaide, including school holiday programs, contact Nerida directly on 0430 824 800 or email

To find out more about Nerida’s work and to purchase the book, Love My Shape, visit


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