05 Sep 2023News
Peter’s journey of resilience, empowerment and taking part in the community
Peter’s life took a turn in 2022 after being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment.
As his condition progressed, the 39-year-old realised he could no longer maintain his employment or drive his car. He became withdrawn from regular activities and spent most of his time alone.
“Peter used to work full-time, drove everywhere, enjoyed cycling and surfing and lived a pretty good life,” said Beverley Sutton (Bev), Peter’s Local Area Coordinator from SSI.
Bev has been working alongside Peter to support him in achieving his NDIS goals. The new diagnosis meant that Peter, who was already an NDIS participant since 2020, had to reassess his NDIS plan to meet his new support needs. Peter and Bev also had to consider new ways for Peter to navigate and participate in his community and explore new social activities.
“Bev has encouraged me to try so many things like being proactive and visiting Vision Australia, helping me know what questions to ask and the support I need; I now have some great glasses and my cane,” said Peter.
“Using public transport with my cane was a huge step, and it took a while.”
“Using my phone more with different apps.”
Peter’s meeting with Bev at the SSI LAC Liverpool office was a significant accomplishment. This was the longest distance Peter had ever travelled since his diagnosis.
“Peter caught a bus from his home, which dropped him off about a hundred meters from the office. Peter then used this phone to navigate to the SSI Office, the app on his phone would tell him the numbers of addresses until he reached the right one,” said Bev.
Bev and Peter have focused on more than just his immediate support needs. The two have used a whole-person approach to identify additional support needs and seek these supports within the community.
“[Bev has] connected me with a local psychologist that is easy to get to,” Peter said.
“Bev has a knack for getting so much out of me from a phone call; I think I’m masking my depression, but she sees through it; she reads my tone.”
“[Bev] let me know of activities in my local area, including bingo at my local club where I could meet new people; This is part of my life now”.
Through his resilience and support from Bev, Peter is now an active participant in the community. He has more confidence in expressing his choice and control, whether it is at a café or when arranging his NDIS services.
“More on Bingo, I go every Monday; I have a budget and have built my confidence to get a drink and a small meal at the café in the club. Bev encouraged me to ask more of the staff as they are there to help me – it has made a big difference; I could probably be called a regular now; I am very shy, but I have three people I say ‘Hi’ to and talk to briefly at Bingo; Their smiles help me when I am feeling down”.
As part of the support Peter receives from the SSI LAC Program, he contacts Bev once a month, and Bev does regular check-ins at other times.
Peter said, “I sometimes Pester Bev for advice, and she is the only one I can rely on and get support.
“Bev can be blunt and to the point when I need a push. She talks to me with respect and a caring nature”.
Peter’s NDIS plan includes support to assist him when completing his daily tasks can be more difficult. Expressing his needs is a crucial part of getting the proper support. With time and support, Peter gains confidence and understanding of his rights, choice, and control.
“Some providers haven’t been reliable in the past, and Bev has encouraged me to contact others to support me; I have a little more confidence in asking for what I need and want, not accepting bad service”.
When asked what’s next for him, Peter said, “I am more confident in walking to my local shops and have a timetable of activities on my fridge; I enjoy bus and train trips.”
“[Bev] is encouraging me to travel to Macarthur Square in Campbelltown – after I learnt how to get to Casula Mall; One step at a time”.
The SSI LAC Program is designed to support you along your NDIS Journey, giving you the knowledge and confidence to access services that potentially have positive life-changing impacts.
SSI is partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver LAC services in NSW. The services provide a person-centred approach to support people with disability, their families, and their carers to pursue their goals, exercise choice and control, and connect with the community.
For more information, visit our webpage or call 1800 960 975 to speak with the SSI LAC Intake Team.