From family home to first home with Northcott

By Kate Reid, 4 April 2019 , Comments

There are few events in life that mark the transition to adulthood quite like moving out of the family home.

For friends and Northcott Oak Flats customers Heather, Cara and Jamie, the often anxiety-provoking process was made easier with the support of Northcott’s Housing and Supported Independent Living service.

Moving into a home that offers Supported Independent Living means these three friends, who all have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, have support from Northcott staff who come into the home to assist with day-to-day tasks and skill development.

Heather, Cara and Jamie, who met through Northcott’s Vocational Skills program, have been involved in every step of the process – including the early planning stages.

“Northcott started looking at places for us to rent and looked after the NDIS funding,” said Heather, who is currently studying creative writing at Wollongong University.

After spending time house hunting to ensure they found the right fit – the friends finally chose their new home, which they moved into in December 2018.

“I was really nervous and scared and I didn’t know what to expect,” Heather said.

“But the Northcott staff came into the house and assisted us with all the furnishings and getting the house set up.

“Amy [Northcott Team Leader] was very helpful. She was here probably the first day I came in, I was the first in and then Cara came in a few days later. So we did all the groceries and got all the food. I was very thankful to have that support.”

“I think the support has been really good because we’ve got workers here pretty much all the time – although we’re starting to not have people in the day time – so we’re not completely alone,” Cara added.

“We can talk to them and they are all people that we know so it’s good.”

Walking through the modern four-bedroom home just south of Wollongong it feels like a well-maintained and well-furnished share home – you certainly won’t find a milk crate coffee table in this living room!

With their surroundings sorted and their belongings moved in, the three friends are now focusing on developing those skills we all learn when we first move out of home.

“They are currently learning to cook meals, how to clean a house, and how to do their laundry, all with the support of Northcott staff,” Northcott Team Leader Amy said.

As with any big life change there’s been ups and downs, but the Northcott support network is always there when they need it.

“The transition from their family home into their new home has been smooth and they are all dealing with their anxieties really well,” Amy said.

“It shows how important and successful the Vocational Skills program (SLES) is in teaching them coping strategies.”

“There are the good days and the bad days,” Cara added.

“Sometimes you get home sick and miss home, but it’s been good and I’m thankful that I got this opportunity because if anything happens to my mum then I know that I can move out and live by myself and I know how to look after myself,” Cara said.

“I’m getting more confident – little bit by little bit,” she laughed.

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Read about Kelly’s experience with our Housing and Supported Independent Living service in Tamworth.

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