Lleyton driving for independence with NDIS

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Lleyton unloads stand up paddle board from the roof of his car, he is barefoot, under towering Norfolk Island pine trees

Lleyton Clark has a dream to one day sell the best donuts on Norfolk Island.

That dream is now a realistic goal thanks to the newfound independence Lleyton has achieved since joining the NDIS when it rolled out on Norfolk in July 2018.

Nineteen year old Lleyton has a moderate intellectual disability. He has limited speech, is unable to read or write, and can only follow instructions which are one to two steps in addition to physical challenges including low muscle development and poor coordination.

“Not being understood verbally has had its challenges and I have had to learn to be patient,” Lleyton said.

“I am very determined to live just as anyone else would, and most people treat me like an average person. I am lucky to live on Norfolk Island where I am part of a great community where everyone knows me.”

Lleyton receives NDIS funding for occupational therapy, speech therapy, assistance with financial literacy, a support worker to help him with social interaction skills, and a support worker to help him for four hours per day when his Mum is away. 

Lleyton was recently able to put this new arrangement to the test when his Mum flew to New Zealand to take his sister to school, and he not only stayed home on his own for the very first time but also managed his Mum’s café in her absence.

“I was the ‘last man standing’,” Lleyton said proudly.  

“I was excited and nervous and I slowly got used to living on my own. I love the independence, the freedom and responsibility.”

Lleyton was also thrilled to recently pass his driver’s test, giving him even more freedom.

“I got my full licence last month. I bought my car which has roof racks to carry my paddleboard, which I use every day.”

“I never thought I would drive a car or want to move out of home. Now I am looking at building my own cabin and living there. I have technology and help to enable this to happen.” 

“I am learning about what it means to be independent – doing my own shopping, taking care of myself and how to pay my bills. I am very excited. I can drive to the beach everyday so I can use my stand up paddleboard.”

Lleyton has big plans for the future, inspired by his grandfather who was a great baker and his uncle who recently taught him how to brew apple cider.

“One day I want to open my own shop selling pizza, burgers and bakery goods, and a brewery.  I will sell the best donuts on Norfolk Island. They will be just as good as my Grandfather’s - he was a great baker.”

“I also want to build a log cabin at the back of Mum’s property. I have the plans already. It will have reindeer antlers on top of the door.”  

“I want to call it ‘Camp Wild’, because I am the wild child of the family!”