Living with cerebral palsy

By Nick Hicks, 10 October 2018 , Comments

When Jacinda was born, her parents learned that she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and that she would face many challenges in her life. Making her family proud she learned how to walk and speak. She has not allowed her disability to hold her back from striving for her freedom and achieving her dreams. In high school she volunteered her time in the school library and as a teacher’s assistant helped children with their school education.

“I enjoyed the library, I found it quiet with little distractions and the duties they do there to be interesting,” she said.

After leaving school she became a Northcott customer to seek support with entering the next important stage of her life. She has worked hard to practice the skills taught to her and has taken great pride in her progress so far. No longer wanting to continue relying on her family, Jacinda hopes to live her life independently. By attending classes at Northcott she has already learned many beneficial skills to advance toward the future she seeks to one day achieve.

“I found coming to Northcott nerve wracking but exciting, it helped me gain more independence,” she said.

Jacinda has learned to prepare and serve meals for herself and is able to wash dishes after using them. She has also been taught to use appliances to perform daily tasks such as washing and ironing her clothing. She has already applied these new skills at home to assist her family with house work. She continues to learn skills in the hopes she will be able to soon begin looking for her professional career.

“I now know how to cook simple meals like spaghetti bolognese and salad sandwiches, I also learned how to pack and turn on the dishwasher,” she said.

A large struggle for her has been travelling due to her difficulty with walking. Northcott staff commonly work to support her in accessing the community, whether it’s walking down the shops to purchase groceries, or going to locations where she can apply for jobs. Despite her personal challenges, she doesn’t allow it to stop her from believing in herself. Jacinda often requests the opportunity to prove that she can do things like venture out on her own and perform home duties.

“Before I came here I didn’t have the confidence to figure out problems while travelling,” she said.

“A problem I had once was when the lift wasn’t working and Northcott supported me by teaching me to remain calm under pressure and I thought of a different solution.”

Jacinda has now become involved with Northcott’s Vocational Skills service to gain confidence in job-related skills. She has begun looking for a potential job in an office environment while she plans to search for a more active future career. Jacinda has shown a desire to seek a career in education where she can help others. She has also revealed a passion for screen and theatre acting and has been actively seeking entrance into courses and other opportunities that will lead her into performing arts.

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