Click the images below to learn more about some real experiences with the NDIS and our Disability supports.
Meet Chloe and Layken
Independent Living with Support
Meet Nick and Alex
Housemates or Soulmates - Bronya and Ann-Marie and their journey to independence
For most of her life, Bronya had lived with her parents Heather and Colin in Dalby, 80 km north-west of Toowoomba (QLD). Bronya attended Life Without Barriers’ disability support day programs in Dalby and also worked part-time at the Endeavour Foundation. But because she was growing up with a disability, Bronya’s parents thought the possibility of her one day living independently was no more than a far-fetched dream. However, Bronya’s dreams of independence proved too big.
Recognising that she was set on becoming independent, Bronya’s parents encouraged her to learn new skills that would help make her dream come true. So, five years ago, Bronya moved to Toowoomba to take part in Life Without Barriers’ Transitional Respite Program. This program supports people to learn new life skills they may need to live independently, such as shopping, cooking, building community relationships and personal hygiene.
After she completed the twelve-week program, Bronya’s confidence in her abilities had grown considerably, and a year later she moved into a house managed by Life Without Barriers. The house is set up as independent accommodation for people with disability, while allowing for staff to live in to support tenants as required. When Bronya first moved into the house she felt more comfortable with staff being around most of the time, but over the past four years she has become increasingly autonomous and accustomed to her new space.
This year Anne-Marie joined Bronya as her housemate. Anne-Marie had also taken part in the Transitional Respite Program where she built on her skillset to smoothly transition to independent living. She also works at the Endeavour Foundation and is known for her kindness, thoughtful attitude, and infectious laugh.
Bronya and Anne-Marie settled in famously together. They have very different personalities but fast became very good friends who, rather than looking to Life Without Barriers for support, often help each other in small and meaningful ways in their daily lives. Bronya and Anne-Marie share their love for yoga, dancing and going out for dinner, as well as their passion for and commitment to their jobs, and their sense of pride in their home.
Caroline Pedersen is a Disability and Aged Care Operations Manager at Life Without Barriers. When commenting on Anne-Marie and Bronya’s friendship, Caroline said:
“Like any house-share, it’s all about finding complementary personalities to create a successful arrangement, and Anne-Marie and Bronya found just that. They’re great friends who have learned from each other and the staff and families have noticed a huge difference in their outlooks since they moved in; Anne-Marie’s father Pat says he’s never seen Bronya so happy.” “Bronya has traditionally been more cautious in new situations…but being around Anne-Marie has brought her out of her shell,” continues Caroline. “Both women are now not afraid to do what makes them happy.”
Bronya and Anne-Marie’s inspiring story was featured in the Autumn 2017 issue of Ruth Magazine – a Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) magazine
Photo Credit: Paul Finch
A 'Former' Quiet Achiever: Meet Ryan Cannon
When Ryan Cannon first started as a client at Life Without Barriers he was an extremely timid young man, who kept his head down and it was difficult to engage him in conversation. He was living in a unit by himself, felt socially isolated and was not part of a community. His first goal was to make some friends.
“Ryan has been with us since November 2015 and he receives community access, individual skills building and mentoring support,” says LWB mentor Craig Spaulding. According to Craig,Ryan’s communication skills have improved greatly since joining the support network at Life Without Barriers, “On commencing with us he did not initiate conversation and was very quietly spoken often his head down. Ryan has become more outgoing and now frequently contributes to conversations.”
Recently Ryan was on an LWB recruitment panel to interview potential disability support workers and mentors. Ryan asked the candidate two questions and his presentation was great, with his head up and some eye contact with the candidate.
Ryan’s father, Lindsay Cannon says, “Since Ryan started at the Hub I have seen enormous change in him - all for the positive. He started as a very shy introverted boy. Today I see a more confident, happy young man who is willing to try new things. I am so proud of the person he has become and so very grateful for the Hub.”
Ryan has also received outstanding support from Wise Employment to obtain some volunteering and work experience placements.
The LWB Hub mentors in Launceston supported Ryan to engage with Wise and assisted in his preparation for work placement interviews. Since then, Ryan has volunteered at City Mission, completed a work experience placement at Target one day per week doing Meet and Greet, and has most recently commenced a work experience placement at Komatsu - a large company with an extensive range of earthmoving, mining, construction and utility equipment. Ryan has an avid interest in machinery, and is engaged in daily tasks, including starting up all machinery in the morning, changing spark plugs and so on. According to Ryan, this is his dream job.
Time to revisit Ryan’s initial goal - making friends! Ryan has proved himself to be Mr Congeniality. He has formed friendships with a number of young people attending the Hub, and in particular has formed a great friendship with one young man of a similar age. Ryan and his friend now meet up and go to the movies and visit each other at their homes.
“Everyone at the Hub is aware that Ryan has a strong interest in machinery and has a collection of models. He had never shown anyone his collection, despite being asked about it all the time. Recently Ryan contacted me and his friend from the Hub and invited us both to his home for coffee. During that time he revealed….THE COLLECTION! I felt honoured to have been invited in to Ryan’s home and his world,” said LWB mentor Craig.
When asked how he feels about his new friendships, Ryan simply says, “I have friends for the first time in my life. I laugh more.”
Photo caption: Ryan at his work placement Komatsu, Launceston.
Photographer: Rob Anderson
NDIS is proving life-changing for Newcastle local Erin
Through her support programs which are now accessed through her NDIS plan, 31 year old Erin has made significant progress in developing new skills and greater independence and now has a social life established through her networks.
Mum Lynne said Erin is enjoying life more than ever. “Mondays she is out dancing, she is a regular at karaoke and ten pin bowling and goes on social outings with her carers. Our lives, and Erin’s, have changed for the better and we are so thankful,” she said.
The youngest of three children, Erin was born with a rare chromosomal condition and had been cared for by family members for many years. Following the move to Newcastle, the family connected with Life Without Barriers (LWB) and Erin has been able to attend regular programs and participate in activities she chooses across the week.
“Erin had already been working with LWB when the NDIS kicked off in 2013, so it was an easier transition for us to make as she could continue to be supported by some of the carers and support staff she already knew,” Lynne said.
She says the ongoing and consistent contact with the same team has been amazing and had an active and positive impact on Erin’s progress and development.
“Erin has always had good receptive communication, but outbound communication has always been more difficult for her. We are thrilled that she can now say the names of her carers, which makes an enormous positive difference to her self-esteem.”
Erin’s confidence and sense of independence has clearly blossomed now she is living independently from her parents in shared accommodation.
“We are delighted that Erin is now socialising with her peers outside of her day program which is something she looks forward to every week. She has a house mate that complements her and they work well as a team in their new home. The NDIS program has given us something we never thought we would have for Erin – choice! By having a choice in carers and in social activities Erin is now happy and settled.”
“She has her own friendship and community network separate to the family, thanks to a transition program where Erin was supported in becoming more fully independent. We are no longer worried about how she’ll cope as we become older,” she added.
Disability Support Services (Perth) - Chris
Disability Support Services (Newcastle) - Christine
The Hub - Tasmania