I couldn’t prepare any food or drinks for myself, or even open and close the windows and window coverings. This might seem minor, but it became unbelievably frustrating for me.
I was living in a residential apartment that had been slightly modified to accommodate my disability, but I never really felt I was living independently. The unit’s setup made me totally reliant on my family and support staff for daily assistance.
I did manage to secure funding from NDIS to more extensively renovate the unit, installing a ceiling hoist and automated windows and updating the bathroom and kitchen. Simply requesting these works to be done prompted pretty devastating backlash and discrimination from the other residents. There were comments about my “suitability” to live in the building, and concerns about the potential devaluation to other properties. Living there basically became a nightmare for me. It was really hurtful to be fighting for basic things that would have a huge impact on my life.
Luckily for me I was born into an unbelievably supportive family who refused to let me do anything but live life to the fullest. They supported me through years of extensive therapy and treatments. I was born three months early and birth-related complications left me with Severe Spastic Quidriplegia. For fourteen years I was in therapy for eight hours a day, six days a week. My family’s unfailing support has given me the most amazing foundation, allowing me to reach many goals throughout the years.
The Ability SDA apartments are literally a dream come true for me. Because of the extensive smart home and voice-activated technologies, I now have complete control over my environment and don’t need as much day-to-day staff assistance. I’m so excited about the accessible kitchen so I can make myself a cup of tea whenever I want. It’s given me back the confidence I lost. Mum says she’s relieved for me to finally have a house and environment that enables me to be genuinely independent. This allows her to take a step back and start being my mother, not my carer.
I’m not going to lie: the NDIS application process is tough. The team at Ability SDA and my family worked really hard to get approvals and funding in place for the technology, care, and housing. I would definitely encourage others to apply because it can only improve your life. However, expect lots of highs and lows. Even though the process can be difficult and overwhelming, it is worth it in the end.
Walking inside my apartment for the first time transformed the bad nerves I’d been feeling into exciting, good nerves! Every time I walk through the door I get more and more excited about what my future looks like in this exquisite unit.