Patricia puts the circus behind her

Patricia puts the circus behind her

The circus in Patricia’s head started when she was a small child growing up in Sydney.

 

“Even before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I always knew something was wrong,” she says. “When I was very young I used to take days off school because I felt unwell, and from eight onwards I was hearing voices.

“Fortunately my mum was schizophrenic so she always understood where I was coming from. She’d allow me to stay at home and rest.

“To be honest she was my best friend.”

Patricia still experiences anxiety, depression and the occasional schizophrenic episode but has learnt to manage the highs and lows.

“When I was young it was just Mum and I who were affected but a lot of illness runs through our family and for my brother and two sisters, unfortunately it has hit later in life,” she says.

Drugs and alcohol

By her late teens Patricia had turned to drugs and alcohol to help cope with her mental illness, which ultimately left her bedridden.

“I was just a nightmare to know but luckily I met a GP who referred me to a psychiatrist, and as a result my condition was finally properly diagnosed,” she says. “So it was at that point that I got away from the drug dealers and moved back home, where my parents took me in and gave me all the help in the world.

“I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and with the support of older people in the group I was able to give up drink and drugs. I stayed with that group for 15 years and from the age of 26 I’ve been clean.”

Patricia only moved to NSW’s Northern Rivers when she was 40, initially on holiday.

A new home

“I had a breakdown in Byron Bay and the ambulance took me to Richmond Clinic in Lismore – and I’ve stayed here ever since.

“Some of the staff have become very close friends and continue to look out for me, they’re always checking in to see how I’m going. With their help I’ve been able to avoid another breakdown for 20 years.”

Patricia joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2017. She says it has made a really big difference to her outlook on life – especially with consistent support from Lorna, her Social Futures Local Area Coordinator.

“I’d been used to getting support through self-help groups involving people with similar mental health issues to my own, but my NDIS-funded carers are mostly all people with families from the mainstream and it’s just a much more positive vibe.

“I knew I needed the change to help with my recovery but I didn’t know how to go about it. Now that I’ve made the change I just feel I’ve entered a whole new chapter of my life. The NDIS came just at the right time.”

Out and about

Patricia’s support workers complement her existing social and church networks by taking her out for community activities, and also help maintain her flat with cleaning and maintenance as required.

She’s also able to use her plan funds to access therapeutic support and now goes on group tours with local NDIS provider Hart Tours.

“Once a month I go out with a group of old ladies (I’m the youngest one there!) and they are all so nice. We do a whole day tour in the bus going to places like Kingscliff, Mullumbimby, Pottsville, Ballina and so on – it’s just great getting back out into the countryside again.

“Now I’m thinking of volunteering and even looking for paid work – I’m only 63 after all!

“I thought I was going to become one of those weird people that you see around and now all of this has happened, it’s just been so positive and exactly what I needed.”

“I thought I was going to become one of those weird people that you see around and now all of this had happened, it’s just been so positive and exactly what I needed” (Patricia)

Patricia’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Re-engage in mainstream community life
  • Access therapeutic support
  • Go on group expeditions
  • Consider volunteer or paid work

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

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From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year’s 2019 Archibald Portrait Prize – the biggest art competition in the land.

 

Zion has Down Syndrome and experiences difficulty communicating through the spoken word. However, he has no such difficulty showing his love of life through his vibrant and colourful art, which includes sketches, painted canvases and ceramics.

With his NDIS plan in place and support from his Social Futures Local Area Coordinator, Zion is now set to take his art to a much wider audience.

Born in London and spending his teenage years in Sydney, Zion’s arrival in the North Coast NSW town of Mullumbimby coincided with his artistic flowering. His natural ability was nurtured by local disability service provider RED Inc, which set up an art studio in the Byron Bay industrial estate for Zion and other clients who had shown artistic talent.

Learning the trade

“They were very encouraging, providing art teachers and showing Zion the basics of sketching and painting,” his mother Christine says.

“Then after a while I discovered that one of my friends used to be an art teacher, so she also worked with Zion for a few years. She was able to work with him here at home twice a week, and she was so excited by Zion’s potential that she was happy to keep coming on a voluntary basis.

“One of the big things about having NDIS funding is that at last it allowed us to pay her, which was long overdue.”

Zion has exhibited his distinctive naïve and colourful artwork in many group shows but in the past few years he’s started to hold solo shows on his own. Christine says his work is now greatly admired and collected, particularly on the North Coast, and Zion has had several commissions. His work is in private art collections in the US and the UK as well as here in Australia.

Wider horizons

One show in particular, ‘Picasso would be jealous’, was so successful that it allowed him to fund a trip to the United States and Mexico late last year, including paying for his art teacher to accompany him. She did art with him in the mornings and evenings, and he always went out with his art materials and sketched in the street.

“It was great – Mexico is absolutely fabulous,” Christine says.

Zion’s Mexican experience was the inspiration behind his most recent show, ‘Viva’, which showcased his watercolours, an addition to his more customary acrylic painting style.

Although Zion’s Archibald Prize entry – a portrait of Aboriginal elder, artist, musician and educator Walangari Karntawarra – did not make the list of finalists when they were announced on 2 May, Christine said she was just happy that he had entered.

Keeping busy

In the meantime, Zion has plenty to keep him busy beyond his artwork. His NDIS plan funds support seven days a week, both in-home and at service provider United Disability, as well as community engagement, exercise, speech therapy and participation in a local drama group.

“Monica, Zion’s LAC, has been fabulous about helping us get all of our supports in place and explaining how we can use his funding,” Christine says.

“My desire is for Zion to be recognised for his ability rather than his disability. I also hope that his success shows just what people with disabilities are capable of – there are just so many amazingly talented people out there who can shine, given the chance.”

To see Zion’s artwork, go to www.zionart.com.au or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/zionstewartartist/.

“My desire is for Zion to be recognised for his ability rather than his disability. I also hope that his success shows just what people with disabilities are capable of – there are so many amazingly talented people out there who can shine, given the chance” (Christine Levy, mother)

Zion’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Develop his artistic ability
  • Participate in community activities
  • Maintain his physical health
  • Improve his speech

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

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There’s no place like home

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability.

The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and de-myelination of the optic nerve. This leads to progressive weakening of the legs and hands, and vision impairment.

“It came on about 10 years ago when I was in my mid-30s,” Tammy says. “I thought it was just a pinched nerve, until one day I collapsed on my front steps and wound up in hospital.

“I was fortunate enough to be seen by a neurologist who had experience of the condition – too often it gets misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.”

After that Tammy’s condition continued to worsen to the point that she had to stop teaching music and also cease working as an office manager for a friend’s business. With no family support and no means of supporting herself, five years ago Tammy reluctantly signed up for the Disability Support Pension.

“Luckily I have a lot of support from my Uniting Church congregation which helped me through the worst times,” she says.

Choice of supports

A couple of years ago Tammy heard about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and decided to apply, and was accepted straight away. Her First Plan was agency-managed but, with increasing self confidence, Tammy has now appointed a Plan Manager for her Second Plan which widens her choice of supports.

“My Local Area Coordinator, Belinda Separovic (from NDIS Partner Social Futures), has been great with referrals and emotional support,” Tammy says. “There have been rough patches where I’ve had to contact her a lot, and she always tries to find the answer for me.

“With my First Plan I was able to access occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The OT helped me get my first-ever electric wheelchair, which I really needed, and the physio designed a proper exercise regime for me. They’re heaps better than the online exercises I’d been trying to follow!

“My Second Plan now includes 20 hours of funded support every week and I’ve been able to employ four support workers with the help of my Plan Manager. They provide personal care, clean my house, maintain my garden and will soon be able to take me out for community activities.”

Back in the groove

Tammy can still drive but recently purchased a wheelchair-accessible van, which means her support workers can take her out to do the shopping or go on social outings.

“My vision is good enough to drive but mostly I just don’t have the confidence anymore,” she says.

Now that she has enough support to stay in her home, she’s hoping to get back to work.

“I teach piano, guitar and drums, but realistically I don’t have the energy to get back to what I used to do. However, now that I have support it would be nice to teach at least a few clients.

“With help from my physio, I’m also hoping to regain at least some mobility. But mostly, I’m just very happy feeling safe and secure in my own home.”

 

“Mostly, I’m just very happy feeling safe and secure in my own home.” (Tammy)

Tammy’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Buy her first electric wheelchair
  • Develop a personal exercise program
  • Stay in her own home

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents' eye but they don't shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.   Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life....

read more

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

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Zac’s change of scenery pays off

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW’s North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) journey.

 

The 10-year-old schoolboy has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic, complicated by dystonia – a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm involuntarily.

Mum Crystie says that since the move and the start of his NDIS supports, Zac “is one happy kid”.

“Moving to Yamba has been a great experience for Zac,” Crystie says. “He’s now in Year 5 and being really well supported at school in a mainstream class. 

“Zac physically can’t do much, including feeding himself. However, his verbal skills are slowly getting better and he understands most of what you tell him.

“He enjoys socialising but he’s got his own way of letting you know when he wants ‘alone time’!”

Support worker of choice

Crystie manages Zac’s NDIS plan herself. After two years, she finds that self-management brings many benefits, such as flexibility in choosing the support worker of her choice.

“I met this gentleman back in 2017 when we were both undertaking a Certificate III Individual Learning Support course at TAFE. He’s basically more of a mate to Zac than a carer and Zac loves him. They’re always going out to the beach, to the skatepark or the shops together.

“Zac’s happy and I’m happy. After all these years of struggling to fund Zac’s care through working multiple jobs and not having a spare minute, finally my husband Ross and I can have some time for each other.”

NDIS funding has also allowed Crystie to purchase a range of assistive technology for Zac including an electric wheelchair, a standframe, a walker, Eye Gaze communication technology, orthotic shoes and bath aids.

Other supports include speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, all organised with the help of Social Futures Local Area Coordinator Susan Knight.

“We’re working on building his independence and eventually we’d like to build the ‘Zac house’ to cater to his long-term needs,” Crystie says.

Crowdfunding campaign

In the meantime the focus is on Zac’s upcoming femur rotation surgery scheduled for July this year, a procedure that will allow him to straighten his legs for the first time.

“Zac is a tough cookie but the recovery period is going to be six to eight weeks, so it will be challenging. However, the payoff will be that he will be able to walk much better.”

Zac’s third Plan begins in May and the family is simultaneously running a crowdfunding campaign to finance extra equipment for when Zac gets out of hospital, such as a heated spa for hydrotherapy and a hi-lo lift bed.

“Our aim is to raise $12,000 and we’re well on our way,” Crystie says. “After all this time, we’re finally able to look forward to the future with confidence.”

 

“Eventually we’d like to build the ‘Zac house’ to cater to his long-term needs” (Crystie, mum)

Zac’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Become more independent
  • Access therapeutic supports
  • Purchase a range of assistive technology
  • Enjoy more quality family time

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents' eye but they don't shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.   Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life....

read more

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

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* indicates required



Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents’ eye but they don’t shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.

 

Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life. For virtually all of this time the caring responsibilities have fallen on mum Jen and dad Neil.

“Katy requires full-time care and help with most daily living tasks,” Jen says. “This means she cannot live independently, or access community events and social situations by herself. Her options have always been severely limited and she’s been fully dependent on us for everything.”

With the assistance of Local Area Coordinator Arwen operating out of Social Futures’ Tweed office, last year Jen and Neil were able to set up Katy’s first National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan.

Connecting with peers

“The NDIS can be a challenge to negotiate but it’s doable,” says Neil. “Now that Katy’s a participant, it has completely changed her life.”

Katy’s NDIS funding has enabled her to attend a “great” disability day program with Coolangatta-based service provider Lifebridge, four days a week. She engages in swimming, art, sports, recreational activities, community access, team games, and most importantly, connecting with peers to form friendships. 

Her artwork has also been featured in an exhibition organised by Lifebridge.

“Katy’s been so much happier gaining more independence, and her self-esteem has greatly increased,” Jen says.

Working on wellbeing

NDIS funding has also meant Katy can get additional visits from a physiotherapist and a dietitian, which have improved her overall health.

Another very significant outcome has been the in-home care that Katy has been able to access. She’s started the journey of living independently from her parents, in an appropriate and stress-free way thanks to the NDIS funding.

“Katy’s quality of life has improved dramatically,” Jen says. “It would not have been possible without this funding.”

“The NDIS can be a challenge but it’s doable” (Neil, dad)

Katy’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Participate in community activities
  • Form friendships with peers
  • Develop her artistic skills
  • Improve her health
  • Access in-home respite care

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents' eye but they don't shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.   Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life....

read more

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

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Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW’s Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.

 

Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the support of his family and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) there’s no telling how far he can go in the entertainment world.

In Nathan’s own words: “Today Tweed Heads, tomorrow Hollywood!”

Nathan has Down Syndrome and two years ago was also diagnosed with autism, just before being accepted onto the NDIS and getting his First Plan.

Tailored supports

With his NDIS funding and the support of his Local Area Coordinator Monica, who works for Social Futures in Tweed Heads, he’s been able to tailor his supports much more precisely to improve his fitness and help achieve his dreams.

Last year he starred in a short film called ‘The Cover’, made by a local Tweed Heads production company that was entered in the 2018 Focus on Ability Short Film Festival. It didn’t win but earned lots of praise for its powerful message of acceptance.

However, Nathan’s biggest focus is on the ‘Night of Abilities’ showcase for Tweed coast performers with disabilities. Nathan came up with the idea several years ago and his family, led by mum Elaine, decided to help him make it a reality.

The first Night of Abilities took place in 2015 with family friend, TV personality and former Test cricketer Greg Ritchie stepping up as host. Starring Nathan and friends from his day program, the event was a great success and since then the show has gone from strength to strength. Last year it attracted an audience of more than 300 people.

From strength to strength

Now into its fifth year, the family has decided to move Night of Abilities to a bigger venue – Tweed Heads’ Elevation Church – to ensure it can play to an even bigger audience. The show will also feature a broader range of performers with disabilities, drawn from schools across the region.

All funds raised by ticket sales, donations and raffles go towards the Kids In Need Association, which supports young children living with disabilities or with terminal illnesses. Nathan’s carer, Mel, says thousands of dollars have already been raised for the charity over the past four years.

“Nathan, his carers and his family literally go knocking on the doors of businesses right through the area, from the Gold Coast and all the way down to Murwillumbah, asking for donations,” Mel says.

“Some businesses donate money, others donate artworks, dinner vouchers or cakes – one business donated a Harley Davidson ride. The local community has been so generous.”

When the lights go up on 31 August 2019, Nathan and his friends will be ready and waiting to put on the best show yet. While Nathan can’t confirm all the details, he says it will feature plenty of his favourite songs, dancing, even a flash mob.

To find out more, including pictures and videos from previous years’ shows, visit the Night of Abilities Facebook page at facebook.com/pg/NightOfAbilities.

“Today Tweed Heads, tomorrow Hollywood!” 

Nathan Johnston

NDIS Participant

Nathan’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Improve his fitness
  • Improve his diet
  • Engage with the community
  • Pursue his creative dreams

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents' eye but they don't shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.   Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life....

read more

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

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Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui and her father Don (pictured here with LAC Cindy at left) have overcome the sorts of odds that would have defeated most people many times over – and still come up smiling.

 

The story begins in 1980 when, as a 15 year old, Jacqui was a passenger in a car that collided with a parked truck. Jacqui suffered severe head injuries and after three years in hospital, she emerged with brain damage and the loss of sight in one eye.

“Jacqui had to learn how to speak again and to this day has poor balance, no sense of smell and limited taste,” Don says. “Her right arm is useless and her right leg is very slow.”

Dreams put to one side

Jacqui’s dreams of becoming a hairdresser had to be put aside and instead she found work at a Sydney-based disability enterprise.

Her mother developed Parkinson’s Disease just a few years later and Don took on the role of carer for both of them until his wife’s death 12 years ago. The family moved to the Gold Coast in 1987 and they have lived there ever since.

“Apart from Jacqui’s placement at a local disability enterprise we received no other support to help with her care,” Don says.

“However, one thing the NSW Government did do was let us know that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was coming, so we got an application in early and Jacqui got accepted.”

Jacqui’s pre-planning was done with the assistance of Tweed-based Social Futures Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Cindy, and Jacqui received her First Plan in July 2017.

“Jacqui’s initial plan didn’t have much extra funding for respite care but there was enough in there that at last we could see light at the end of the tunnel,” Don says. “I was 82 at that stage and for the first time I had the sense that there would be ongoing support for Jacqui after I’m gone.”

From bad to worse

In October 2017, Don had a crash and wrote his car off. Then in January 2018 Jacqui had two falls that saw her taken to hospital for a check-up. When Don came to collect her from hospital, she fell again – and this time broke her ankle badly. Since then Jacqui has needed a wheelchair to get around.

The final blow came in June 2018, when a faulty home air conditioner caught fire and the family house burnt down. Jacqui and Don escaped with just the clothes they were wearing and both wound up in hospital.

“The house was insured but we basically lost everything,” Don says. “We’ve been living in temporary accommodation ever since.”

New plan, fresh hope

Luckily Cindy had put in place a review of Jacqui’s plan after her January falls, and the revised plan now provides funding for in-home care seven days a week as well as funding for cleaning and out-of-home activities. Her plan has also funded a new foldable wheelchair, a walking stick and daily adaptive equipment.

“Australian Unity provides the support workers and they’ll be able to keep supporting us when we move back to Sydney to be close to my other daughters, while our house is rebuilt,” Don says.

“Thanks also to the fabulous staff at Social Futures’ Tweed office, who rallied around and bought us a hamper after the fire. It was a wonderful gesture and helped keep our spirits up through a really tough time.”

“Thanks to the fabulous staff at Social Futures’ Tweed office, who rallied around and bought us a hamper after the fire. It was a wonderful gesture and helped keep our spirits up through a really tough time.” (Don)

Don

Jacqui's father

Jacqui’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • With personal care, seven days a week
  • Domestic assistance
  • Gain more independence outside the home
  • Recover from her recent falls

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

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Jordan swaps Struggle Street for a social whirl

Jordan swaps Struggle Street for a social whirl

When Denise gave birth to her son Jordan, the main concern was that he was three months premature. 

 

“He was born early due to an infection but beyond that he was just a normal, beautiful baby boy,” she says.

But shortly after Jordan returned home with his parents, disaster struck. He experienced two cerebral haemorrhages in quick succession and never properly recovered.

“We suspect that Jordan was sent home too early – we’ll never know for sure but the upshot is that Jordan has been left with cerebral palsy, brain damage, a hearing impairment, and loss of function in both legs and one of his arms,” Maree says.

Doing it tough

Life has been a struggle for Denise and her family, who live in NSW’s central west region. Jordan’s various conditions have required 10 or more visits to Sydney most years for specialist appointments and treatments, including annual splints fitting.

“It was always a juggle trying to find somewhere affordable to stay in Sydney, and we always had to bring Jordan’s older brother Josh along when he was younger,” she says.

“We had some State Government-funded early intervention support before Jordan went to school but once he was at school, we got nothing. We could never afford holidays.”

Despite the many obstacles Jordan made it all the way through school to Year 12 in a supported class, where he made many friends.

“Jordan is very social and he was happy at school. Now that he has received his National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) package and is receiving centre-based care through Breakthru People Solutions, it turns out most of his old school buddies are there as well – he just loves it.”

Change for the better

With the support of Social Futures Local Area Coordinator Matt, Jordan’s plan funds four days a week of centre-based activities, as well as one-on-one respite care at home on some weekday evenings. He also attends Zumba on a Thursday evening and social outings on Saturday nights.

“Jordan’s now 25 and really enjoys the big social vibe of his Saturday night group – there’s about 20 of them and they go out for dinner, see live music, go to the speedway, all the things young people of his age love doing. He’s got his own carer but they’re about the same age so it all feels very natural.

“It’s good for me too, because whenever Jordan goes out, so do I. I’d forgotten what freedom felt like.”

Jordan’s NDIS plan has also funded a new wheelchair, and shortly he will have an electric bed that he can self-adjust to help him cope with his chronic reflux. Next up is an assessment for car modifications so that Jordan can get in and out of the family car independently.

“Jordan is so much happier now – we all have space in our lives and the future is looking really positive,” Denise says.

 

“Jordan is so much happier now – we all have space in our lives and the future is looking really positive” (Denise)

Denise

Jordan's mother

Jordan’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Engage in community and social activities
  • Get a new wheelchair
  • Exercise
  • Achieve more independence

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents' eye but they don't shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.   Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life....

read more

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

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Roger steals the show

Roger steals the show

The first words out of Roger’s mouth each morning when he wakes up are ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’, because he’s hoping it is a day he can go to the Vivability day program that he loves. He can access the program with funding in his National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan.

Roger is now on his second plan and going from strength to strength. His family couldn’t be happier.

Roger’s parents, John and Esme, care for their 50-year-old son who was born with Down Syndrome and a bowel deformity.

 “Before we were introduced to the NDIS Roger spent all of his time with us. We took him on as many outings as we could but he didn’t want to be active, he was too unwell,” Esme says.

“It was also very draining on us to try and find him activities to do and being older people, we were slowing down.”

Joining the NDIS

Roger, John and Esme were introduced to the NDIS through Gemma Nixon, an occupational therapist at Integrity Therapy Services in Blayney, and then through Social Futures which delivers the NDIS in Western NSW as a Partner in the Community.

Roger’s Local Area Coordinator (LAC), Eliza, helped him access the scheme, gathered information around Roger’s goals, supported the family into the NDIS pathway, explained Roger’s first plan and empowered the family to take control of Roger’s care.

“Eliza was fantastic, very professional and fully explained the program. We could ring at any time to get information. The communication process has been a major plus for us and Eliza was always able to point us in the right direction,” John says.

Making community connections

“The change in Roger is incredible.  It is now easier to get him out of bed on the mornings he has his day program in Bathurst, he’s very excited. He’s made connections in the community. We’ll be walking down the street and everyone will be waving and saying hello to Roger.”

“When Roger gets dropped back home from the day program he doesn’t want to come back inside, he wants to get back in the car and do it all over again,” Esme says.

“Roger has made such an impact on another person at the day program that one day when Roger was unable to attend, his friend picked his picture off the wall and put it on the chair next to him so he wouldn’t miss out.”

Boosting his confidence

As part of the day program, the group was invited to perform at the Bathurst Eisteddfod.

“Roger loves singing and dancing and he went up on that stage so confidently, normally he would be so nervous. It was the confidence that he showed that amazed us, it’s been tremendously boosted because of the NDIS this last six months,” Esme says.

“Even though Roger is very fortunate to have the support of his extended family, it is so good that  he now has the support of a network of other people to care for him and it’s so important for us to get him involved in the community. The NDIS has taken a lot of strain and worry off us for when we won’t be able to look after Roger by ourselves anymore.”

“Thank goodness for the NDIS. We are just so happy.”

John and Esme

Roger's parents

Roger’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Spend more time in the community and build meaningful connections
  • Access programs that suit his needs
  • Reduce pressure on his ageing parents and let them choose providers that work for the whole family  
  • Increase his confidence and become more active

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents' eye but they don't shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.   Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life....

read more

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



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