Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life.

For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be truly transformative.

So it was for Narissa Phelps, whose son Joshua has lived with bipolar disorder from the age of 16.

“His condition came on when he hit puberty, and for the next 20 years until he joined the NDIS his life was incredibly restricted,” Narissa says.

“He experiences social anxiety and has never worked. He struggles with going out and rarely initiates activities on his own, including housework and meal preparation. Josh’s diet was both limited and poor.”

Joshua, who is now 37, is the eldest of Narissa’s children and lives close to her in the northern NSW town of Lismore.

“He lives in his own one-bedroom unit and for years it was up to family to keep him on track,” she says. “It was so hard to see him living in squalor, and he resented me trying to keep order and cleanliness in his life.”

Joshua’s journey since he joined the NDIS has been life-changing, both for him and his family.

“Now he has a support worker go around to his house three hours a day, six days a week. They help him with housework, work out weekly menus, take him shopping, play board games with him.

“His unit stays clean and he has several good meals a week. On top of that, someone comes over every night at 6pm to make sure he takes his medication.

“Every now and then support workers will take him out bowling or for a game of pool, which he loves. The workers are predominantly males around his own age, so he’s having fun with peers that he lacked previously.”

Joshua gets to have social time in the wider community while Narissa, her other son and Joshua’s father get to enjoy time with him free of distractions.

“I can finally enjoy a mother-son relationship,” she says.

Narissa’s personal experience has reinforced her sense that the NDIS has made “a huge positive difference” in the lives of many families that she knows.

“I’m retired now but I used to support students with disabilities at the school where I worked. I see my old students around town and it’s clear that they’ve blossomed so much under the new system.

“The NDIS has been very beneficial for me. The support I receive is great because I see someone regularly, and it means that I have company every day.”



NDIS Participant

The NDIS provides Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability the supports they need to live more independently and to increase their social and economic participation.

The NDIS has provided support to more than 104,000 people across NSW. There are more than 300,000 people who have benefitted from the NDIS nationally, including close to 100,000 people who have received support for the first 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

Elise moves into a home of her own

Moving into your own home is a special milestone but for Elise Miller, it holds extra significance. Elise has finally had the birthday party she's dreamed of for so long, with friends, family and other supporters celebrating in her new purpose-built home. The sociable...

read more

NDIS opens up a whole new life for Tasel

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...

read more

Madeleine lands her dream job

Madeleine Thompson dreamed of becoming a nurse when she was still in primary school. Now she’s living the dream, having recently secured a permanent role as an Assistant in Nursing at St Joseph’s Nursing Home in the northern NSW town of Lismore. “I’m really enjoying...

read more

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required

Delivering services around COVID-19

Social Futures is committed to the continuation of delivering support services in a safe, practical and innovative way while navigating COVID-19.