WHEN Courtney Owen's support workers try to talk for her, she pipes up.
She's very quick to let them know this interview is about her and not them.
Her attitude and conviction is in harmony with the theme of this year's Down Syndrome Day, which will be acknowledged globally on Thursday.
The theme is "no one left behind".
Putting herself to the front, she is currently in the process of dealing with local real estate agents to find a place where she can live independently.
Navigating the rental market is a big task and there are a lot of skills to be learnt, but hopefully it will be sorted in the coming weeks.
It's a step-up for the young woman, but to talk to her, it might be hard to glean the serious time of transition it is, mainly because most of her time is spent cracking jokes.
When she's not cracking wise at her support workers, she spends her time baking, crocheting and making bracelets.
... people are very understanding and compassionate when interacting.Northcott worker Jackie Phillpott said attitudes are changing
"She keeps us on our toes," support worker Jessica Patch said.
"Every shift, you never know what she is going to come out with."
Northcott accommodation coordinator Jackie Phillpott said Tamworth became a better place for people with a disability in recent years, in a number of ways.
"I think the inclusion has certainly improved in Tamworth, there has been a really big improvement around people with disabilities being able to access services, not just the buildings," Ms Phillpott said.
"I think the overall interaction is no longer where people speak for people with disabilities, they are able to communicate and people are very understanding and compassionate when interacting with customers."
According to the latest National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reports, there are about 4300 people in NSW with Down Syndrome.
Only 3000 of them are actually registered under NDIS and only about 3 per cent of people with Down Syndrome, over the age of 18, are engaged in open employment, according to peak body Down Syndrome NSW.
The organisation said there is still a stigma associated with intellectual disability, "particularly in the highly-valued life goals such as employment".