FOR many of us, 2020 may turn out to be a year we’d rather forget. But for Maclean woman Jacques Sears, things have never been better.

Ms Sears, also known as Tasel, is deaf, but with the help of the National Disability Insurance Scheme her life has changed for the better.

With the birth of her third child only seven weeks away, change has come at just the right time.

FOR many of us, 2020 may turn out to be a year we’d rather forget. But for Maclean woman Jacques Sears, things have never been better.

Ms Sears, also known as Tasel, is deaf, but with the help of the National Disability Insurance Scheme her life has changed for the better.

With the birth of her third child only seven weeks away, change has come at just the right time.

Tasel said in the past she didn’t have interpreters or funding to help, but thanks to NDIS local area co-ordinator Libby McPhee, from Social Futures, Tasel now has the support she needs.

The 38-year-old uses her NDIS funding for interpretation services, community participation and to purchase assistive technologies.

“They really understood what I needed as a deaf person to be well supported,” she said.

“It’s much better, much improved, thanks to Hilary (my interpreter) and Libby my LAC for their wonderful help.

“It feels different. I’m happier. I can book interpreters, I can train my dog to be a service dog for me – the NDIS has enabled me to do that.”

Jacques Sears with her service dog Sasha.

Tasel’s service dog, Sasha, is a nine-month-old German Shepherd and with help from the NDIS, Sasha is learning sign and voice commands through a local trainer, Grace from K9.

Sasha will then get a vibrating collar to alert her when Tasel wants to communicate with her. As a fully-fledged access dog, Sasha will have a special access dog uniform to identify her.

“It’s really exciting,” Tasel said.

“Training my dog to be a service dog would cost too much without the NDIS, so it is amazing now the NDIS is covering it, and I’m stress free from that worry,” she added.

That’s not the only exciting news Tasel has to share. In just seven weeks she is due to have a baby.

“It’s very active, always punching, kicking and moving around in there,” she said.

“It’s a little boy. We have a name but we’re keeping it secret until the birth.”

Tasel also has a 19-year-old son, Hulieo, living in Canberra and a 16-year-old daughter LaToiah, who lives with her in Maclean.

For Hulieo and LaToiah’s birth, Tasel said she communicated with her doctor writing on paper or the doctor would talk slower so she could lip-read.

Tasel’s partner, Marcus, also helped through the birth, telling her what doctors were saying.

The birth of this new child promises to be a whole different experience for Tasel.

“All of the ongoing appointments I have for the baby I can now have interpreters for, funded through the NDIS, so I feel more confident going through all of these appointments,” Tasel said.

“I can understand what the doctors are telling me. I’m really happy. It’s been such a change for me. I’m feeling really comfortable and good about this – well supported.”

The NDIS has also provided assistive technology funding to support Tasel after her baby is born.

“I have an iPad which means I can book interpreters independently. It’s good to have technology I can use for relay technology, which helps me living remotely,” she said.

Through her assistive technology funding, Tasel has also purchased a baby alarm.

“A receptor is worn on my wrist and one around my waist, and through flashing and vibrating it will wake me when the baby is crying,” she said.

“I also have two doorbells which link to my phone so if somebody is at the door I can see who is there.”

Tasel said her support co-ordinator is currently looking for new accommodation for her daughter, and her newborn, and the new property will have front and back door alarms fitted.

“People use the back door generally because deaf people won’t hear people at the front,” Tasel said.

“That’s why I now have a back and front door alarm. It is a safety thing too. I have funding for a fire alarm also – a flashing light – to fit to the new property once we find it.”

In the future, Tasel plans to learn creative writing through TAFE, but for now her focus will be on her family.

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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