19 Nov 2020News
Mother on a mission to support her sons with ‘invisible disabilities’ to live full, independent lives
The family has faced numerous challenges in its journey towards its ultimate goal: achieving a fulfilling, independent life for the children. Now, with the support of LAC planner, Erin, they are closer than ever.
Disabilities can affect individuals to varying degrees and in different ways. This is illustrated through Eve’s three children, who face different challenges associated with their cognitive, behavioural, or social disabilities.
Eve’s daughter Rhiannan, aged 21, is thriving in her work as a Disability Support Worker. She has just bought her first house and is about to begin nursing studies at University.
“Despite being the middle child, she is both her brother’s protector; doing whatever it takes to support them,” said Eve.
Michael and Damon* have both faced significant challenges to their day-to-day functioning and receive support through the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) program.
Eve’s eldest son, 27-year-old Michael, is an articulate, engaging man with a passion for reading. He was born with a learning disorder and is on the Autism spectrum. He has previously volunteered with the Australian SES and one day hopes to take advantage of his love for structure and focus in a career as a police officer.
Damon, aged 20, was born with Autism and lives with severe oppositional defiance disorder.
“He is a funny character, though, and a great person,” said Eve. “He tries really hard, but it is quite tricky for him.”
Although it was initially challenging to find a supporter who connected with Damon and Michael, after meeting SSI LAC planner Erin, they have both seen significant improvements.
Eve said that, before they met Erin, Michael’s wellness had deteriorated to a point where he was at risk of being kicked out of his home.
“He had become a complete recluse, refused to speak to anybody, including his own family, all because he didn’t have the support he needed. But Erin has been amazing with him and helped me to get the support he needs,” said Eve.
Erin’s assistance has helped Michael to get out of the house once a week and visit the family to have a dinner. He has been able to maintain the property he lives in and is well enough to consider joining self-development programs.
Damon has also seen significant improvement, having reduced the frequency of violent or aggressive responses after he was put in contact with a therapist he can trust and be open with.
The connection Erin made with Michael and Damon was key to their success.
“A close connection with the caseworker is really important because having that gets better outcomes for my sons. That is crucial, I believe, for them to get the support they need and eventually become independent,” said Eve.
Damon has also built a close, positive relationship with his support worker, who’s ongoing support has been integral to his progress.
Although the journey has not always been easy, Eve and her husband are determined to give their children the best quality of life possible and support them to achieve independence. The family is well on their way to achieving that.
“This has been so challenging, but my boys did not ask to be born with a disability, and we focus on making the absolute most of the life we have.”
SSI recently took on the role as a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) provider in the Sydney region. As an LAC provider, SSI supports people aged 7 and over to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other mainstream services in the community.
For more information, visit www.ssi.org.au/local-area-coordination or call 1800 960 975 to speak to with the SSI LAC Intake Team.
*Pseudonym and stock photo used to protect individual’s privacy.