Charlie is 43-years-old and identifies as a non-binary person. They are neuro-diverse. Charlie has been a Mable client for 7 months or so. In that time, the social support they have received has been “nothing but positive and life-affirming”.
Charlie found Mable through their support coordinator. “I joined Mable because I could choose who I wanted to work with.”
They add, “I wanted a support worker who had similar interests and life experiences, so that my needs would be better met, my goals could be achieved and we could have fun along the way!”
Support for the things Charlie loves
“People say life starts at 40, for me it has ‘restarted’ at 43,” Charlie says.
Charlie discovered their passion for ball sports and skateboarding, and found their Mable support worker who goes with them for the sessions. “I’m now playing in an amateur league. I’m also going to cardio tennis once a week and shooting hoops with my support workers. And I’m so proud of myself!” they say.
For Charlie, who lives with mental health issues, the “rewards are amazing”. “The endorphins and the knock on effect is helping the meds work even better and feeding my self-confidence.”
Charlie also loves photography. “I’m a photographer and I’ve taken steps to start my own business selling my art. My support worker encourages me to follow my ambitions and nourish my strengths. They also help me venture out into the queer community here in Naarm (Melbourne) and the community at large in a way that suits me.”
Finding independence with Mable
Charlie is working on gaining confidence to do the things they find difficult to do on their own, and to become independent.
“Independence to me is being able to get places on my own with as little anxiety as possible, making new friends, pursuing my interests and engaging with others with the same interests,” Charlie says.
Having support means Charlie is also able to be a better carer for their mum. “And my workers support me when I’m having a rough time of it. This helps me look after myself so I can continue to help mum as she ages.”
Charlie’s vision for people with disability
“I want people with invisible disability to be seen, heard and protected,” Charlie says.
They add, “I want them not to be exploited, left out, teased. I want them to receive the support they need right from the start, so we’re not left behind in any way as children or as adults.”
“Give us a chance, we might do things a little differently, but our ability to think outside the box can be so valuable to society.
“We are capable of extraordinary things, especially those of us who are neurodiverse. I’d love for the education system to catch up with those who learn in different ways.
Charlie adds, “We just want to be understood and accepted for our differences, and have them celebrated, not maligned.”