A mum who has a son with disability shares her thoughts about the NDIS

By Ryan Young, 9 May 2016 , Comments

Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is set to make a positive difference in the lives of many people with disability as it begins to fully roll out from 1 July. 

But it’s not only people who have disability that will benefit from the NDIS. Families and carers of people with disability will benefit too.

Stephanie Clough is one of those carers. She has a son Raymond and he lives with disability that affects his speech and intellectual development. We caught up with Northcott’s Client Ambassador to get her views on the NDIS and this is what she told us.

What does the NDIS mean to you?

Clients can select what services are relevant and dismiss what isn’t so the one size fits all system is replaced with a tailor made one that fits the person with disabilities and their lifestyle, family or support network.

What support does Ray get now?

Ray attends a Life Skills Day Program at the Northcott office in Taree four days a week. This has been wonderful. He keenly attends, has diverse activities there and enjoys spending time socially interacting with his peers.

Raymond Clough having fun with his peers and socialising

What support would you like him to get in the future?

I travel 15 kilometres per day to take and collect Ray from his bus. Northcott’s Taree office is nearly an hour away from where we live. Ideally taxi transport from our home to the bus and vice versa would be of great value to me as a single, working and studying mum. Ray would feel a lot more independent with his mum not driving him around.

For Ray, job skills training and trialing some work experience would be a great support as would driving tuition and instruction on answering the questions in the learner driver test.

I would like to see his plan allow him to continue to take part in social and recreation activities that perhaps extend into the weekend. That would be helpful for me if I encounter shift work in the future and again it’s more person centred for Ray also. 

We have chatted about having a buddy available to take him to the gym, movies or golf.

We have also considered that Ray is still a non-swimmer and training in that area is an ongoing need as we live on the coast and by the lake.

I would also like to see Ray develop his cooking skills so he can cook at home and be more independent in the future by doing things like selecting products at the shops, calculating money, working out menus and building his organisational skills.

Raymond Clough cooking with his mother Stephanie

What are you and Ray doing to get ready for the NDIS?

I have been chatting with Ray about what he likes best in his Day Program as well as what he likes least.

We’ve discussed Ray’s goals for getting lawn mowing experience as well as his desire to learn to drive.

My mind has been meandering over extensions we can perhaps make to the program he is now engaged in.

We have planned to meet with Northcott staff to tackle questions we have about devising Ray’s plan. I have talked to Ray’s older sisters, and his father who doesn’t live with us, about gaining their input to strategise for Ray’s future.

Raymond Clough sitting at a computer smiling while taking part in disability service provider Northcott's Life Skills program

What concerns do you have about the NDIS?

I have some anxiety about having a good working plan in order by the July rollout time. I have a nursing exam in June and two weddings to help organise for my older daughters.

Ray’s dad and I are also divorced and I have some anxiety about being the main parent to focus on the welfare and educational needs of our six children.

I have a lot of organisation and day to day events that land in my lap. Raymond wants to trial living with his dad in 2017 and I perceive some problems with planning for Ray in his ‘gap year’ where he won’t necessarily attend Northcott.

If Ray returns to live with me I want to be sure we can pick up the pieces again and return to using Northcott’s services.

Despite my concerns about sharing roles with Ray’s father, keeping communication lines open between us and the plan readiness, I truly believe the NDIS is so much more person–centred and is evolving in the right direction. It’s holistic and it takes into consideration real life scenarios and situations.


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