Finding the Right Support with a Team Leader
When I first thought about moving from a group home into my own Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), I wasn’t sure I could do it.
I thought that maybe my disability was too progressive, and my needs were too high for me to move. I had never known any other model of care that worked for people with my neurological condition.
I hadn’t lived alone before and wasn’t advised about any other types of accessible, or affordable housing. Due to my diagnosis, I couldn’t work full-time, I only had a job that paid $50 a week. So how was I going to be able to afford rent and other living costs?
SDA was introduced as a NDIS initiative, aimed at providing a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to group homes – offering eligible participants, a safe place to live where choices are valued, and self-determination is encouraged.
How could I arrange my own team of supports? Was I going to be able to access care when I needed it? What would happen to me if someone called in sick right before their shift?
Who would I ring when I needed back up? I had been living with 24-hour care provided, and to transition into my own apartment was beyond intimidating. My parents had serious doubts as to whether it would be a good option for me.
I wanted to choose my own support workers and get cared for the way I wanted. I didn’t like having time limits on my social outings, or the distracted help I received in a group home environment. My support coordinator recommended to me that I bring one of my more experienced workers on as a team leader. She would assist me when choosing my team, as well as arranging my roster of care.
I met a support worker that I grew to trust, when living at the group home, and discovered she would continue working with me when I moved into my own SDA. This was a huge relief for me and made me excited for the change, not so worried.
Before I had a team leader, I felt very alone in my SDA journey. With a designated team leader in place, it gave me a lot more freedom to explore my independence and allowed me to achieve new things. I was able to find a job doing something that I love. Working flexible hours that suited my schedule of therapies allowed me to remain on top of my health.
I also enjoyed the dating scene for the first time since leaving home. These new experiences have made me feel like an adult, which is something I never felt in the group homes I lived in.
My transition into SDA living ran a lot smoother with a team leader in place. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is considering moving to independent living.
Jamie-Lee loves to challenge stereotypes surrounding disability; her lived experience of someone growing up disabled motivates her advocacy. Having studied journalism at uni, she uses her writing skills to her advantage. Shining a light on independent living options available to people with a disability is how we can create change in our society. She hopes to help other people with a disability along their journey, encouraging vulnerable people to find their voice. She believes that diversity will pave the way to equality for all.
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