Geelong mum, Carolyn McDiarmid says out of her 4 boys, her third son Clem will most likely be the first to move out of home because his NDIS funding is supporting him to become independent.
Clem, 15, who has Down syndrome, started with the NDIS when it was in its trial stage back in 2013 and he has just gone from strength to strength much to his families delight.
Self-managed, Carolyn said knowing her son’s specific needs firsthand, his NDIS funding has allowed her to engage necessary supports to help him continue to build his life skills.
“Clem has regular occupational and speech therapies, and he has a support worker at school, Louise, who also supports him to do one-on-one activities during the holidays. He’s come a long way and now he’s my easiest child without a doubt,” she said with a laugh.
“Hannah, Clem’s support worker and therapy assistant comes every Saturday. She takes Clem shopping then they come home, and she teaches him to cook in the Thermomix.
“Being able to use Clem’s funding to engage a support worker one-on-one to help him develop his skills and independence in the kitchen has been incredibly beneficial.
“Clem’s makes some amazing dishes – soups, bolognaise, banana bread, and the best part is I don’t have to worry about him burning himself over a hot stove. The Thermomix has many built-in safety features, and I can be confident that Clem is unlikely to cut or burn himself,” Carolyn said.
“When Clem cooks it also has one instruction per screen and he just needs to press ‘next’. It might say add 100 grams of carrots and the scales will appear on the screen. It’s so user friendly for people with disability and he’s so proud of the food he can make.
“In fact, Clem has become so good at using his Thermomix he’s been asked to do a demonstration at a local Community Centre to show other people how easy it is to use.”
Carolyn said with Hannah’s support Clem is also learning how to budget which includes shopping smart so he can prepare healthy meals, not only for himself but for his family.
“Clem just loves the responsibility, and he really enjoys cooking with Hannah. I love the fact he is eating healthy.
Hannah helps Clem pick and buy fresh food and there’s no preservatives, which has had a positive impact on his general health and wellbeing.
“For me, working 30 hours a week and with Clem learning to prepare meals, like family dinners, it’s really taken a load off,” Carolyn said.
“Even having Hannah and Louise to take him out to do activities he enjoys, like shopping, going the movies, live shows, and even a trip to the snow fields without mum tagging along, has been so beneficial for him. I can see his confidence growing more and more each day.
Carolyn said the NDIS is really working for Clem.
“We’ve got a 3-year plan which is great and being able to self-manage Clem’s funding means we can support him to build a multitude of skills, so he has the best chance possible to be an extremely independent young man in the not-so-distant future,” she said.
Note: The NDIS assesses each participant’s funded supports based on their individual needs and circumstances in line with the NDIS Act 2013 and its Operational Guidelines.
Supports or AT funded in a participant’s plan must be safe for them to use and in no way harm them or those around them.
The disability supports and assistive technology/equipment (AT) featured in this article are only likely to be suitable for NDIS participants with specific requirements.
For information on disability supports including AT, participants should seek advice from their health professional and discuss their personal circumstances and needs with their Local Area Coordinator.