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Meet Gaiarose, an NDIS participant who chooses independent support workers herself through Mable to support her in achieving her goals. Gaiarose was delighted to tell her story in the hopes that it encourages other people who live with disability to explore support the way she has.
In 2018, I sustained a traumatic brain injury. I was 18 at the time and was now forced to re-evaluate my goals and priorities, including securing a job and deciding where to study. My passions are food, moving my body, learning, and interacting with people in what I call “5-second friendships”. I wanted to procure a job that would fulfil at least some of these passions. The paperwork and my moral compass mean that many jobs I’d be able to perform are out of the question. My dream to study gathered cobwebs as I cringed away from the processes required to even apply.
Now 21, one of the many challenges I face is the inability to navigate and cope with bureaucratic processes. This meant I didn’t return to study, get a job or access the support offered through the NDIS. My mother in Tasmania organised a meeting with a Support Coordinator here in Brisbane who mentioned Mable to me.
I’ve found workers by posting ads and responding to the ones whose profiles I like. My first support worker, Annabelle, allowed me to realise my dream of returning to study and I’ve since completed the academic component of a Cert 4 in Youth Work. This has given me the confidence to apply and enrol in a Bachelor of Arts.
When I first met Annabelle, I didn’t know what was expected of me or her. Our walk to the coffee shop soon ticked the box of someone that is fit and able-bodied and I gained an understanding of her character through casual conversation. Through our mutual enjoyment of coffee, Annabelle would often lift my spirits and morale by accompanying me on a coffee outing.
I soon learnt that a person should meet a worker in a way that suits them, and that no structured dot-point situation works for everyone. The control that Mable provides is empowering. For me, the best thing is that it’s easy to navigate.
My current support worker is Beth, a lovely, interesting lady. She’s allowed me to finally fulfil my dream of employment! After nearly four years, I have a job at a market stall selling delectable cookies. 5-second friendships … tick. Moving my body … tick. Good food … tick. The only downside is that I begin at an unholy hour and can’t drive, but Beth has made it possible to continue this job by driving me. The great chats in the car ride there elevate my spirits prior to beginning an enjoyable day.
I never thought I’d be able to access support successfully following my brain injury. I constantly felt frustrated at myself. I was overjoyed to find Mable and its user-friendly accessibility. I feel I can achieve so much more now by connecting with support workers to assist me with various tasks. Tentatively, I’m dipping my toes into an expansive universe. I smile as I write this, thinking of all the things I can accomplish now. The world is my world again now that I can access its full potential.