After two years as a participant with SSI’s Local Area Coordination (LAC) program, Sabrina Morini, a 22-year-old woman with autism spectrum disorder, is kicking goals and keeping her sights set on the future.
For years, Sabrina’s ambition to pass her driver’s licence and to get a job seemed out of reach. But now, she has been a guest services agent at a Meriton hotel for seven months, and two months ago, she passed her driver’s test. Sabrina is also continuing to work towards her dream of high school teaching.
Sabrina Morini learning to drive prior to passing her Ps test earlier this year.
Sabrina’s mum, Mercedes, credits these recent achievements to her daughter’s hard work and the support provided by SSI’s LAC service.
“I’ve noticed since you guys jumped on board that there’s been a boost in her achievements and her self-esteem.”
The LAC services have supported Sabrina through facilitating driving lessons, home support workers, training in independent living skills, and transport to job interviews.
Mercedes praises their SSI coordinator, Jade, who has worked with them for the two years Sabrina has been a participant.
“She’s a miracle worker, that woman. She’s been so supportive and just the backbone of this whole exercise; she’s been great. Every time Sabrina has a proud moment I get on the phone and share it with her.”
A life-long love of history and geography have led Sabrina on a path towards high school teaching. Sabrina has completed the first year of a Bachelor of Arts majoring in teaching.
Sabrina has the noble ambition of encouraging more students to study the subjects she loved most.
“I did history in high school, and it was the subject I got As in; I loved it. I dropped out, but if I had stayed, I would have loved to study history and geography in the HSC. They’re not popular subjects, so in the future I want to push hard when it comes to students studying history and geography and invite more kids to do it.”
For now, Sabrina is taking some time off university to focus on her new job.
Sabrina was always very motivated when it came to finding work, Mercedes said. “She looked for work on her own, called them and organised the interviews.”
But finding suitable work was not always easy as a young neurodivergent person. One workplace, which Sabrina stayed at for four months, was unhappy she had not disclosed that she had autism. According to Mercedes, Sabrina’s superiors began to treat her differently after finding out.
“They started making work harder for her so she would quit. That was a shock to her self-esteem, and it was gut wrenching for me to witness the discrimination she was going through.”
Things turned around after Sabrina left that job and, assisted by one of her support workers, Rueben, secured a position at a Meriton hotel.
“Meriton is a good fit because they provide a routine, work is pretty flexible and they’re nice,” said Sabrina.
Sabrina is looking forward to resuming university in March of 2023, and she is already setting her sights on the future.
“Now my only goals are to graduate, pay off my car and maybe, to move out.”
Proud mum, Mercedes, is confident that now, with the support of SSI, Sabrina will continue to achieve her goals.
“I’ve always known that she had it in her, but she just needed a platform to exercise it and that has happened with this support. Moving forward she is only going to get better and better with her achievements.”
SSI is partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver LAC services in NSW. As an LAC provider, SSI supports people aged 7 - 64 to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other mainstream services in the community. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for NDIS support, visit our LAC webpage.