A strike and a spare, Jaimi brings home two Gold medals
Bundaberg National Disability Insurance Scheme participant, Jaimi Dann won two Gold medals and a Silver in Ten-Pin Bowling at the 2014 Special Olympics and now, just back from the 2018 games in Adelaide, he's blitzed the field yet again, winning two more Gold.
Jaimi's mum, Raelene Whalley, said he won Gold in the singles and won Gold in the teams.
"Now we are just waiting to see if Jaimi will be selected for the world games in Abu Dhabi," she said.
For the strapping 27-year-old, competing in the Special Olympics has been life changing, according to Raelene and partner, Glen. "We never imagined the extent of Jaimi's abilities," she said.
"When Jaimi was chosen for the Special Olympics, back in 2014, we were really surprised and really happy. "We never expected him to come home with two Gold and one Silver medal.
"Since then, and since Jaimi has been part of the NDIS, we've seen so much personal growth in him. He has been able to see different parts of Australia and he just loves meeting new people.
"Being able to compete at Special Olympic local, state and national events has definitely increased his independence, his confidence and his communication skills. He's always been non-verbal but now he expresses some words about his experiences, which is great, and Adelaide has been one I've been hearing a lot of but now I'm sure it will be Abu Dhabi," Raelene said with a laugh.
As an NDIS participant with choice and control, and now adequate funding, Jaimi is also showing positive signs in other areas of his life, and Raelene and Glen put it down to greater continuity of supports.
"Jaimi's local provider, Impact, have been wonderful. With the introduction of the NDIS, it changed its entire program and now he gets to choose what he would like to do from a menu of activities.
"The support worker, who runs Jaimi's construction class, rang me the other day and said Jaimi is doing things he never thought he could do, and this is coming from someone who has had years of experience working with people with disability!" Raelene said.
"We've noticed a huge difference in him. He loves the NDIS. He called it IDS for a couple of weeks," she said with a laugh. "It's been great, and we went through the whole process together.
"Jaimi came to the planning conversation. Although he doesn't say much, I do believe he understands what's going on. I wanted to give him the opportunity to tell the planner about what he wanted to do so he knew he had choices and he didn't have to do the same programs over and over again if he didn't want to.
"The continuity of supports and being able to access activities not usually offered to him has really opened up Jaimi's world. Now he can look forward to achieving so much more in an environment now focusing on people's abilities, not their disabilities," Raelene said.
Jaimi was one of almost 1000 Special Olympics athletes, who competed across 11 sports, in Adelaide, in the National Special Olympic Games, which were held from the 16th to the 20th of April, 2018.
To find out more, visit the Special Olympics Australia website (external).