Every day is a “Hooray Day” for Benjamin
Benjamin Scott loves junk mail, toy cars, pulling stuff apart, car keys and phone chargers but it's birthdays the 20-year-old loves most, his and anyone else's, and at the mere mention of one, he throws his hands in the air with glee.
To Benjamin, birthdays are "Hooray Days", and as one of Toowoomba's first National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, he will love celebrating Carers Queensland's one-year anniversary as an NDIS Partner in the Community.
It will be the biggest Hooray Day for a young man whose world has become a much rosier place over the past year.
"The NDIS has changed Benjamin's life," mum, Janine said. "It has brought him the supports he needs to be happy, and it has changed our whole family's lives too.
"We no longer have to dream about what Benjamin could have to make his life better, it's now possible," she added.
Thousands of locals with disabilities have benefitted from Toowoomba's NDIS roll out over the past year. Many indicating their lives and the lives of their loved ones have changed significantly for the better.
For Janine, the introduction of the Scheme could not have come sooner.
"Benjamin was born in Toowoomba, and for the first part of his life, the system couldn't meet the needs of someone with his intellectual disability," she said.
"It wasn't until we moved to Tasmania, in 2006, we saw what was actually possible in terms of respite, education and support – it was a wonderful system there.
"But the NDIS is about creating one system across the whole country, so it doesn't matter where you live or which State you are in.
"We came back to Toowoomba when Ben was 15. There still really wasn't much support available to meet his needs. However, in the last year, since the NDIS was introduced, he now has one-on-one funding support. It means he can go to Endeavour Lifestyle and Learning, four days a week; he gets behavioural and speech therapy and he can now learn to communicate with us on an app on his iPad.
"Ben is happy, and because he's happy, I can be happy too!" Janine said with a smile.
The NDIS Partners in the Community Carers Queensland office will celebrate its "Hooray Day" on Tuesday, February 20, with staff, participants and the wider community. Attendees can enjoy a free BBQ lunch, entertainment, activities and interactive art.
According to Carers Queensland chair, Jim Toohey, the milestone is cause for a party.
"Carers Queensland is delighted to partner the NDIS in the regions Scheme roll out," Mr Toohey said.
"It has been incredibly successful, and it is fitting everyone involved in its success should reflect upon the work done and celebrate the many lives they have changed for the better.
"I have been privileged to hear so many wonderful stories over the past year about dreams coming true or goals being achieved – no-one ever dared to believe possible."
"Hooray Day" will take place on today, Tuesday, February 20, at the rear of the NDIS Carers Queensland building, 632 Ruthven Street, from 11am to 2pm.
Everyone is welcome. Call 4646 2800 for more information.