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Growing up with Down Syndrome: Robyn Brady and Tara Coughlan


This talk was recorded live at DFTB18 in Melbourne, Australia. With the theme of ‘Science and Story’ we pushed our speakers to step out of their comfort zones and consider why we do what we do. Caring for children is not just about acquiring the scientific knowhow but also about taking a look beyond a diagnosis or clinical conundrum at the patient and their families. Tickets for DFT19, which will be held in London, UK, are now on sale from

Robyn Brady is a Staff Specialist at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, but for the purpose of this talk she is the proud mother of Maeve and Tara. We’ll let Robyn and Tara tell you of their lives together on their own words but if you want to know more about Sprung!! or donate to this amazing not-for profit collaborative then head over to their website.


Robyn Brady (L) and Tara Coughlan (R)

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  • The house-elves are still hard at work, copying, pasting, and occasionally weaving a little magic!


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5 thoughts on “Growing up with Down Syndrome: Robyn Brady and Tara Coughlan”

  1. Some details for those who would like to see more of our family’s journey past, present and future:
    Sprung!! website and
    After Maeve (SBS/RTE film exploring our family’s grief journey and Maeve’s creative quirky imaginary world):
    “”After Maeve is the best documentary on individual and family grief that I have seen in 25 years of professional work in the death, dying and bereavement field. As a family therapist, psychologist and nurse I could not recommend this film more highly. After Maeve is about the tragic death of ten-year-old Maeve Coughlan in a pedestrian accident while on a bike ride with her father. This story of how her family coped in the aftermath of her death has great healing potential for those who have lost a child. And, it is a ʻmust seeʼ for anyone working with grieving individuals and families. No lecture or book could touch the heart and soul of the viewer as After Maeve has done.” Janice Nadeau

    Thank you for your care and interest!
    Robyn, Frank and Tara

  2. Thanks to the DFTB team especially Ben Lawton for his faith in this project, Grace Leo for valuable feedback in the development, Ian Summers for expert photography, Michelle Johnston for sensitive chairing, fellow panelists Cally Jetta and Steven Stathis for their moving presentations and compassionate support of Tara and me, and for the lighting and video team at DFTB who worked wonders in tight time frames. Thanks also to Katrina Folkwell for the poster photograph, John Rado for strong theatrical contributions including the overlap of story lines, and Tracey Lord for the brilliant costumes for Tara and Max duet. Thanks to Jenni, Kim, and David at AIU for making it possible to bring Max McAuley, (Sprung!! Senior dancer and Tara’s partner)- Mandie Kai, Sprung!! manager, and Michael Hennessy, Artistic Director (and choreographer of both works in conjunction with Max and Tara), to Melbourne. Thanks to Michael and the Sprung!! team and to Frank Coughlan for valuable feedback on the spoken word performance and for making our lives so rich. Thanks especially to viewers both live at DFTB and around the world who have been able to join us on our journey through the wonders of DFTB FOAMed commitment and foresight. May your own journeys be trod one step at a time with the possibility of good things in unexpected places.