Christopher delights in his team leader’s glowing report and giggles proudly of his achievements of making his own breakfast and wash his own clothes.
These might seem like small tasks for some but for the 25-year-old, NDIS participant, they are huge milestones. Christopher is learning everyday independent life skills, he has never had the opportunity to do or learn before, showing is more than capable.
“I also get to choose what clothes I wear each day and I help cook and plan the house menu,” he said. “My favourite meal is Bangers and Mash.”
Leanne, Christopher’s Glenray house team leader, said he was living with his mum but since being part of the NDIS, he now has a choice about where he wants to live and the way he wants to lead his life.
An enthusiastic young man, with Cerebral Palsy and Global Intellectual Delay, Christopher’s occupational therapist did assess him as being capable of making his own decisions with support.
“So now that’s what he does,” Leanne said. “He makes his own decisions and we support him in those decisions and help him to explain them.”
Leanne said since Christopher moved in to the share house a year ago with two others, she has seen a massive transformation in him.
“He’s a more expressive and independent young man now,” she said.
“He has gone from nodding his head to answer questions to initiating conversations. He is even willing to come out and tell people what he likes and what he doesn’t like, where he would never do that before.
“Christopher is also well connected to his community and mainstream supports on offer.
“He works one day a week with Access, in its laundry; he goes to the Conservatorium of Music where he attends music lessons; he goes to the gym and he attends a Uniting Care day program, four days a week, which he loves.
“Staff at his day program have also commented on how often he says he loves living at the house. They’ve noticed how excited he gets when he talks about cooking dinner for him and his house mates and how he can use the washing machine to wash his own clothes.
“He is so good,” Leanne said. “He packs his own bag and gets his lunch ready for the day, then when he’s home, he unpacks it and gets it ready for the next day.”
Christopher is also learning to budget.
“He loves playing his PlayStation so instead of buying games outright he puts them on layby and pays them off,” Leanne said.
“They love him at the games store. They give him posters so he can put them up around his room.”
Through his NDIS plan, Christopher also has funding for regular physiotherapy.
“It’s made a huge difference to his mobility, mainly to the way he walks and as a result, he has even lost weight,” Leanne said.
As for future goals, Christopher is looking to save up to visit his sister, who lives in Mildura.
“I’d like to go on a holiday to see her,” he said. “Mum used to take me but it’s a bit hard for her now.”
“That’s the goal,” Leanne said enthusiastically. “We want to continue to build his life skills and expand his independence so he can live life the way he wants to,” she added.