As any parent of a child with a disability knows, trusting someone else to care for your child is really challenging, and requires a ‘leap of faith’.
Simmonne, mum to 22-year-old twin sons, Matthew and Richard, knows just how daunting it can be to put your children into the care of someone you don’t know.
Matthew and Richard both have a primary diagnosis of autism and a secondary diagnosis of intellectual disability. When the boys were very young, Simmonne tried a few support worker agencies, but there were limitations regarding to what extent they could meet the needs of Simmonne and her sons.
“Before the NDIS came along, we had to keep applying for assistance and funding for support workers to assist me with the boys’ after-school routine as well as with transportation and community access,” she says.
Simmonne says it was impossible for the boys to develop relationships with any of their support workers as there was a constant turnover of staff which was “disruptive to Matthew and Richard’s routine”.
“Building relationships was so difficult because there was no continuity of care.” she explains.
Simmonne says after joining with Carer Solutions in 2014, everything changed. Discovering a service that enabled her to employ support workers whom she and the boys already had a relationship with, was a game-changer.
Carer Solutions assists families like Simmonne’s to set themselves up as formal employers and employ people they may already know. Carer Solutions takes care of all the tricky stuff, giving families the support they need, to set up and employ the best support team for their loved ones.
Matthew and Richard now have four amazing support workers, including a childhood friend, Victoria, who has grown up with the boys as her parents have known Simmonne their whole lives.
Victoria understands autistic behaviours and has nursing qualifications. Simmonne says the boys both refer to her as “my Victoria”.
When Simmonne initially asked Victoria if she would like to be employed as the boys’ support worker, she says Victoria jumped at the opportunity.
“Who wouldn’t want people in their children’s lives that they have a rapport with? Carer Solutions gives me the power to be able to make that happen,” she says.
Simmonne says she has started planning for Richard and Matthew to progress into their own accommodation and having the freedom to employ who she wants to assist the boys in making that happen, gives her the confidence and peace of mind she needs.
Please note: In principle the NDIA considers family members as informal support and not employable via the NDIS criteria. People you know beyond family are considered eligible to be employed by you as your support workers. The NDIA states:
“Generally, the NDIA will only fund family members to provide supports in exceptional circumstances. For example, when:
· There is a risk of harm or neglect to the participant.
· There are religious or cultural reasons for funding a family member to provide supports; or
· The participant has strong personal views, for example in relation to their privacy or dignity.”
You can read the NDIA’s full official statement on the NDIS website here