It’s okay to accept support
My name’s Jennie Dunn. I’m a qualified teacher, but at the moment I’m an at-home carer with my children. I’ve got Leahanna, who’s 17, and Jessika who’s 10.
I suppose my hardest thing is accommodating both. There’s a big age gap between them, although developmentally there’s not. Jess has high-functioning autism, with ADD, and processing disorder, so needs the constant sensory feed. Leahanna has global developmental delay. She’s 17 and functions at about a four-year-old level. She also has moderate to severe language delay, with selective mutism, epilepsy, and then she’s got a number of medical issues that cause trouble with her joints and her bones.
I’m a very big helicopter mother. So letting go has been really hard. I’d never brought carers into the home. We did all our therapy privately. The NDIS was the first time that we brought carers into the home, and was the first time I let my children go out with other people.
Northcott were the first people we did it with. The kids came home raving. They had a fantastic time. They’d been independent, they’d made decisions on their own, and it sort of just grew from there.
Both my girls attend a weekend day out social setting that involves both going out for the day in the community, and then projects within the centre itself, including developing skills. Then we have Northcott carers coming into the home. It’s funny, it’s more the act of saying, ‘Well, they’re coming from Northcott.’ And the kids recognise what that is. They identify with Northcott as a place that’s safe, and that the staff come and they look after us, and make a friendship with you.
I’ve made friendships with the staff that come in too. It’s made it a lot easier on me. It’s nice to share. It’s made me relax. It’s made me step back and just be mum.
Our Short Breaks and Outings service runs activities, social clubs and programs for different age groups and interests.