Pictured (L to R): Alyssa, Chloe, Tyler and Paula.
Queensland mum Paula is a woman used to juggling multiple family demands
She also volunteers and is caring for her elderly father.
In addition to her already busy daily routine she has the added task of looking after three children with disability. Thanks to funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and support from APM this is becoming a lot easier.
All use a range of capacity building supports funded by the scheme including occupational therapy, assistive technology, speech pathology and psychology. In addition, they access the community and experience social activities with one-on-one support.
Paula is full of praise for the scheme and the positive impact it has made on the lives of Chloe (21) Alyssa (10) and Tyler (9) who all live with Autism.
“Through therapy they are learning to cope with things. There are times that I look back in certain settings and think I would never have done that two years’ ago,” Paula said “It was just too hard.”
For instance, Chloe uses her personal support worker to assist meeting with social groups in the community and taking part in cooking programs. All of which have boosted her confidence and independence, Paula said.
“Having the one-on-one support has been really beneficial for her. She has come out of her shell and is now speaking up.”
Paula said the family first connected with the NDIS three and half years ago, while living in Brisbane, but after moving to Maryborough for a lifestyle change linked with APM.
APM Communities helps NDIS participants and people with disability to identify and access the support they need. APM Local Area Coordinators (LACs) work directly with people with disability, carers and supporting family members.
She said she was impressed with her LAC and the ongoing dedication and attention to detail she demonstrated managing the children’s varying NDIS plans especially during COVID lockdown.
Paula said her LAC was an important help with the strategic planning involved in accessing the NDIS and advised her on what she needed to do while making the process as simple as possible.
She also is a “extra set of eyes” on her children’s plans ensuring that their services are appropriate for their needs and are on track.
For example, Tyler now uses a specialised app which helps him communicate when he needs assistance. While Alyssa can get out and about in the community with a support worker and fine tune her social interaction skills.
Paula said her Local Area Coordinator (LAC) kept her across where the NDIS plans were at ensuring that all services would not be interrupted.
“She makes sure we know where we are at and watching the levels of the kids’ plans and making sure that we’re not going to run out before the next review. She stays on top of things.”
Paula advised one her best ways of managing conflicting therapy schedules while still being effective was to access services from therapists visiting the home.
“We opted for home therapy, that way the kids can get maximum support. Otherwise you’re sitting in an office for three hours and they’re just bored.”
Paula said she hoped that the NDIS funded supports would lead to her children thriving and being independent later in the future.
“It is all about later in life isn’t it? We worry about when there isn’t us, who is there? The kids understanding life and being able to manage without us around is what we really want,“ she said.
As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.